Ardern and Jones differ on work-for-dole

On Q&A in the weekend Shane Jones promoted a work-for-dole scheme – see Slouches off couches in ‘Work for the Dole’.

Prime Minister Jacinda is not so keen and says any work initiatives for young people will have to be approved by Cabinet (a number of new Ministers have been promoting policy that hasn’t been ap;proved by Cabinet).

NZH:  Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern pours cold water on work for the dole

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the Government’s work scheme to help young people into jobs will not be a work-for-the-dole scheme because they will be paid at least the minimum wage.

And she is not endorsing Regional Development Minister Shane Jones’ wish to compel young beneficiaries into work and cutting their benefit if they refuse, saying Cabinet will work through those details.

Yesterday Jones said he would take four projects to Cabinet for his Working For Your Country scheme before Christmas, which will give beneficiaries a chance to stop “sitting on the couch” and work for minimum wage in industries such as tree planting, riparian planting or developing railway tourism.

“In order to plant one billion trees, in order to deliver on riparian planting, in order to prepare a workforce for recapitalising the railways, the ne’er-do-well nephs will be required to take those jobs,” Jones told the Herald.

“If they are unwilling, then I will spend every thinking and waking moment ensuring they do not fall back on the dole and be permitted to do jack, while the rest of us are out there working.”

But Ardern is not on board with this approach.

…but Ardern told Newstalk ZB this morning that the terminology was wrong because they would be paid a legal wage.

She likened it to Labour’s Ready For Work programme, which targeted 10,000 NEETs (Not in Education, Employment or Training) for six months’ work in Government-supported environmental or community projects.

She did not endorse compelling NEETs to work and cutting their welfare if they refused, saying Labour had not supported compulsion in the past.

Cabinet will work through “the detail of how we encourage take-up”.

Work-for-the-dole had a number of problems, “not least that you’re undercutting people who are in paid employment”.

“If it’s a genuine job, you will be paid a genuine working wage.”

Stuff: Jacinda Ardern backs off work-for-dole scheme, but doesn’t rule out benefit sanctions

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern spent her Monday morning managing expectations around Regional Development Minister Shane Jones’ plans to get young unemployed people off the benefit.

While signalling that Jones was speaking about his own ideas rather than Government policy, Ardern wouldn’t rule out benefit sanctions for those who refuse work.

That could be contentious within the Labour caucus, and also with the Greens who promote sanctionless (no questions asked, not pressure) benefits.

1 News: ‘You’re asking me to jump the gun’ – Jacinda Ardern cagey on forcing those on benefits into work

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has backed away from revealing her view on whether beneficiaries should be forced to work for the dole, saying it needed to be decided by a team – not just her.

“I’m not going to pre-empt the decision that has to be made by a collective group of people with all the information in front of us,” she said.

“You’re asking me to jump the gun on a policy announcement.”

Ms Ardern did say that some of the current sanctions on beneficiaries requiring them to seek work are harmful to families.

“Some of them are problematic – some of them actually end up depriving kids of the support they need.”

She said the Ready For Work scheme is not about compelling people to work, but more about “the dignity of work”.

“In the past we’ve had work for the dole schemes where a person will only receive the amount they would on the dole to do a job that is actually a job that would usually attract at least minimum wage,” Ms Ardern said.

“What we are talking about is genuine work, which should lead on to other opportunities, where you would be paid a legal wage.”

Ardern is making a habit of vague statements.

She has a challenge working out a compromise between Jones and his aims, and her own Cabinet. While greens aren’t in Cabinet they may want a say as well.

Leave a comment


  1. Reply
    • Corky

       /  5th December 2017

      Bill, you can’t miss. If you don’t get more than one sound bite on this issue- step down.

  2. Reply
  3. Gezza

     /  5th December 2017

    The Joneser’s mouth creating explosions in Jacinda’s brain already – doesn’t bode well.

  4. wackAmole

     /  5th December 2017

    Kids on the dole long term probably have all kinds of issues that need sorting out.

    “Work for the dole” won’t address those underlying issues, probably just exacerbate them. Plus leave a sour taste in the mouths of employers who signed the kids up only to have to deal with heaps of drama.

    How about “Learn for the dole”? Ok, getting a part time job could count as gaining new skills, but any young male on the dole long term should be compelled into an apprenticeship.

    “the country’s poorest regions ”

    Urbanisation, which is only accelerating, means youth in remote areas have to migrate to urban centers for improved job opportunities. Don’t think any work for the dole schemes can counter act that.

  5. PartisanZ

     /  5th December 2017

    When Jacinda Ardern clarifying the probable cabinet-imposed conditions of a Labour-led coalition government Work Scheme that will pay “at least minimum wage” is reported as ‘Prime Minister pours cold water on Work-for-the-Dole’ WE ARE IN DEEP SHIT!

    • Gezza

       /  5th December 2017

      Also means the righties theory that the msm is just a bunch of lefties who’ll give the government an easy ride is shot to shit already. As we agreed yesterday, Parti, they are just sharks, herding the fish & circling for attacks as soon as they feel hungry for more blood.

  6. Blazer

     /  5th December 2017

    ‘Ardern is making a habit of vague statements.’…with good reason…as opposed to National who were the masters of vagueness,Ardern has 2 other parties to consider re …policies.

    • PDB

       /  5th December 2017

      Don’t worry Blazer – both parties can’t match your expertise you in this dept.

  7. PDB

     /  5th December 2017

    This type of policy is like ground hog day – comes around parliament every so often and fails.

    Not only are such schemes very costly for the govt to run but are a disaster for the poor unfortunates trying to get the people sent to them to work.

    Such schemes only go to prove in the end the theory that at a certain % you hit the unemployable, not the unemployed.

  8. Zedd

     /  5th December 2017

    Breaking News; Labour & NZF are in coalition.. they are not the same party. Greens are a C&S partner & ditto; not a faction of Labour.
    They can work through their differences. It sounds like the media & Natz are just trying to say; ‘Cracks appearing & this Govt. it wont last’

    Im still certain that these Govt. parties, (esp. NZF) have more in common, than they do with Natz ! (still in denial ?) 😀

    • Corky

       /  5th December 2017

      Could have fooled me. But what do I know.

    • PDB

       /  5th December 2017

      Zedd: “Im still certain that these Govt. parties, (esp. NZF) have more in common, than they do with Natz !”

      I agree with you – those other 3 parties are all completely hopeless for a start.


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