It is staggering to hear John Key at the National Party conference today pronouncing his policy on Youth Unemployment.
Yes all sounds very positive, unless you are young, unemployed, angry and out of or cant get into any of the training system. You probably have no qualifications at all.
Let’s take these one by one.
A lot of young people are unemployed because they do not read or write. Why is that? It is because the education system failed these young people.
Basic skills come only after one has the basic eye hand co-ordination skills. These many children never when to preschool. About twelve to fifteen years ago when these young people should have been at preschool, there were no places and no financial support for their parents.
Luckily for the next set of young people Helen Clarke’s government started a move to make preschool affordable, but too late for these young people. These young people again failed when first at school and then failed at secondary school – being behind at the age of 5 kept them behind the other children and their they stayed.
Then there was an economic downturn and these same people have failed to get jobs. These young people and now disenfranchised and angry, many are already poor or come from poor families and some are also hungry.
When one listens to the politicians all these is there own fault. Sadly this government has again cut back on early childhood spending and now will cut their benefits.
The second reason they are unemployed is that there are not jobs.
Seriously no jobs – oh yes there are few seasonal workers jobs, but unless these poor, illiterate young people can afford to go to Australia or to seasonal work jobs in other parts of New Zealand there are still no jobs, ever day we hear of more redundancies and the people out of work, they young people have never had work so they are just not work ready or prepared. Also who wants to employ a young person who is angry, hungry and can’t read or write.
Thirdly this government has cut all the non threatening community education programmes. I know from my work in prisons that the offenders who came to the art programmes learn to finish a task, gained self esteem, succeeded for the first time ever, but even more important many of them learnt basic eye and hand co-ordination skills that are necessary for reading. They learnt these skills which most children learn in preschool.
So what is the government doing? They are taking away any incentive for self determination. The Government will control their benefit, they can’t spend money on cigarette, alcohol, will they be able to go to the pictures, what about fast foods, will they also be on the banned list.
Come on New Zealand and National be innovative. John Key, stop thinking up policies that are popular with your members and start putting yourself in the shoes of the underclass.
I fear if you don’t we will see riots in Auckland in the same way as in London.