Technically it can be argued that the recession is over in New Zealand.  However, for the vast majority of workers this simply isn't the case.  Unemployment is still rocketing up with another 13% claiming the dole in December2009.  Youth unemployment is very high indeed.  The government's lack lustre response is to allow a whole generation to rot as they do nothing.

For those still holding on to their jobs they are faced with wage cuts and freezes, along with a bosses offensive of intensifying workloads to squeeze as much productivity and ultimately profit out as possible.

The government bemoans the fact that it is borrowing $240 million a week to keep the public sector going.  It has frozen budgets and re-prioritised where it is spent.  For instance cutting adult education by 90%n and introducing school vouchers for private school!

It has been announced that the Otago and Southland DHB are merging to save money.  Immediately for the chop are home helps for vulnerable elderly in the area.

Such stories are emerging daily of cuts in public services.  The National Govt, that represent the bosses interests, see the public sector as an unnecessary taxation burden on private industry and it must be slashed to balance the books and ultimately create more profit for the bosses.

The government's Tax Working Report, clearly wants to put the burden of the capitalist crisis on the shoulders of workers.  It supports handing out tax cuts for the rich and hiking taxes on the workers and poor by increasing regressive taxation.  The most pernicious one being the hiking of GST by 2.5% to 15%.  This is seriously being considered by the Finance Minister English.  Ironically National in the election campaign promised not to increase GST!

The Prime Minister has stated the low paid and beneficiaries will be compensated.  This is a hollow promise indeed.  Low paid people spend most of their incomes, over 60%, on goods and services and any compensation if at all will be minimal.  The government is committed to keeping low pay as the paltry 25c increase in the minimum wage proves.

The labour and trade union movement have a golden opportunity to mobilise workers to defend their living standards.  This means co-ordinated strikes and demonstrations demanding a living wage for all and a socialist programme to achieve it to defeat the bosses government and their lackey coalition partners.  Fine oratories from the Labour benches will not achieve this on its own.