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Beneficiaries to Govt: Show us the jobs

Tuesday 28 Feb 2012 5:55 p.m.

By Tova O’Brien

The directive from the Beehive has been for beneficiaries to get off the benefit and get jobs – but the beneficiaries themselves say they’re trying, and the jobs just aren’t there.

The Government wants 46,000 beneficiaries into work over the next four years, but Gizela Tahuri is asking them where the jobs are coming from.

Despite a business degree and more than ten years in the workforce Ms Tahuri has been forced onto the dole, for the first time.

Ms Tahuri has been turned away from administration and cleaning jobs she's overqualified for, and says it's “really hard” trying to pay rent and support her two children.

“The Government are telling everyone to try get off the benefit… but to what jobs?”

Prime Minister John Key has said there are “plenty of jobs out there for people if they look really hard”, and employment websites seem to back him up – TradeMe’s jobs section has around 10,600 roles available, and Seek has 15,000.

Many of those jobs are highly specialised and high salaried – not ideal for most beneficiaries.  Work and Income (WINZ) has slightly over 3,000 jobs available.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says despite criticisms from “the left” that some employment – including low-paid working such as fast food and cleaning jobs - isn’t good enough, these roles are “noble” and lead on to further work.

With hundreds of public servants losing their jobs, Work and Employment Professor Erling Rasmussen says the less skilled will be pushed out of the market.

“If you're well educated you'll probably have a much better opportunity in the current labour market,” Professor Rasmussen says.

“It's a real problem for people who have less skills or have skills that are not in demand.”

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