I’ve wanted to write a blog post for a while, but I’ve ummmed and ahhhed (sp?) over what to make a post about. Election years are always really interesting and crazy. An election year after various natural (and in some cases, ‘human-made’) disasters, and a home-country Rugby World Cup win are even crazier. But, the various things that have concerned me this past month have, on the whole, not been about teaching, nor earthquakes, and certainly not about rugby. What has concerned me most is jobs, or lack thereof (paid ones I mean; unpaid work is a whole other issue). The rebuild of Christchurch is also very high up there (particularly east Christchurch), but this blog post will be about jobs.
At my school this year, a CAPNA was narrowly avoided. Nonetheless, the financial squeeze will be felt in my school next year, as there will be both bigger classes and less classes to teach. This, of course, affects non-permanent staff, both teaching and non-teaching. Some of my colleagues are now furiously looking for work. I have family also looking for work right now – in fact, they’ve been looking furiously for three months. I also have numerous friends and acquaintances furiously looking for work right now. I have friends who will be finishing their study soon, and will furiously begin looking for work within the next few months. I feel like I’m surrounded by people looking for work (furiously, I might add). This is the first time in a long time that I have known finding work to be so difficult for so many people.
Times are tough; people want to work, they want to be able to provide for themselves and their families, but there just aren’t enough jobs. Aotearoa/New Zealand hasn’t had such a high rate of unemployment for such a long time, and unemployment has been well over 6% all year. So what is the National government doing to help the jobless? Not a lot, as far as I can tell. And what saddens me, is that there’s been an awful lot of ‘kick-‘em-while-they’re-down’-beneficiary bashing rhetoric being bandied around by the Nats, by the media and by the general public. Not that I’m surprised, per se - the Nats hate the poor. But the scary thing is that this nasty rhetoric will most likely turn into policy under National after this election.
So, I guess when I’m voting this election, jobs is one of the things on the top of my mind. I want my friends and family and colleagues and acquaintances who are looking for work to find paid jobs, soon – they desperately need the income (not that every job necessarily pays a decent amount, but lets assume that it should/hope that it does) and they need to feel wanted and worthy (again, not that a paying job necessarily does this, but let’s make the assumption that it should/hope that it does). Not having a job when you really want a job is a horrible situation to be in. I never want to be in that situation again. I guess, though, at some point in my life, it’s very possible that I will be. But for now, I work on in my job. I do not take my good fortune for granted.
And whilst Anne Tolley is a horrid Minister of Education, she’s not actually as horrid as those who are in charge of social welfare, or of the country’s finances. I mean, she IS just as horrid as them, but the effects of her actions are much less punitive on teachers and students, as opposed to say, the actions of Paula Bennet and Bill English on people who are unemployed, or on very low wages (I realise I may regret saying this if National Standards are introduced to secondary schools…).
So, this election I won’t be voting National (duh, heh) because I want a government that has empathy for everyone, not just rich businessman. I want my family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances to find work soon, and I don't want them, or anyone for that matter, to be vilified whilst they are looking for work. And I really don't want three more years of a National government.