The Household Labour Force Survey, which is the official measurement of unemployment in New Zealand, reveals that the unemployment rate is 7.3% of the work force (or approximately 299,000 people). Yet, the numbers of people on the unemployment benefit are around the 50,000 mark according to the Ministry of Social Development.
The National-led government has passed the legislation by one vote in parliament to part-privatise 4 state owned energy companies. This is a highly unpopular policy with the public with all polls showing 70% or more members of the public opposing the sales. Such opposition is not surprising as New Zealanders have learned through the bitter experience of the consequences of privatisations in the 80s and 90s.
In the wake of the Pike River mining disaster coal miners at Huntly East mine have voted unanimously to demand Solid Energy improves mine safety by immediately instituting a system of worker-elected check inspectors and dropping its opposition to such a scheme being made a legal requirement nationwide.
The dramatic events that have been witnessed on the world stage; whether it be the marvellous beginnings of the Arab revolution, the upswing in the class struggle in Europe due to the euro crisis or the re-awakening of the class struggle in the United States have been seen by most New Zealanders, until recently, as being very distant affairs.
The New Zealand Bourgeoisie and their apologists have been painting a picture that New Zealand escaped lightly from 2008 economic recession. Throughout 2011 the National-led government has been promising spectacular growth and an export led recovery. As in previous years this has not materialised. One thing is absolutely clear on the basis of New Zealand capitalism this is not going to materialise!