Only half of the promised ready-to-use work will be delivered

Just over half of the people will be employed in jobs created by the government’s “plug-and-play” infrastructure program after the government reduced the planned jobs created by the program to just 11,740.

Before the election, the government had promised that “more than 20,000” jobs would be created by the infrastructure projects, which had been announced to revive the economy after the Covid lockdown.

National social development and employment spokeswoman Louise Upston, who obtained the revised figures in Written Parliamentary Questions, said the pullout represented a broken promise.

She called on Grant Robertson to keep his job promise.

“You signed up to a number, where is it?” Where are these jobs and when will they be delivered? ” she said.

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Last July, the government announced it would spend $ 2.6 billion on more than 150 infrastructure projects that were so close to construction that they were deemed “ready for the shovel.”

The government has claimed the projects will create 20,000 jobs, a figure Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern campaigned on in the 2020 election as part of her five-point Covid stimulus plan.

The figure has been mentioned in Ardern’s speeches, Robertson’s press releases and Labor Party social media posts.

But less than a year later, Robertson told Upston the number of jobs created by the Shovel Ready program would only be 11,704.5 full-time equivalents.

When asked why the number was so different from that in the press release. Robertson said the figures in the press releases were “estimates” provided by “third parties.”

Finance Minister Grant Robertson said the ready-to-shovel program will only provide about half of the jobs promised.

Samuel Rillstone / RNZ

Finance Minister Grant Robertson said the ready-to-shovel program will only provide about half of the jobs promised.

“The jobs numbers in the press releases were estimates based on data provided by third parties at the time and included in requests to the Infrastructure Reference Group in April 2020.

“These job numbers are then validated during project due diligence, and adjusted accordingly after technical reviews,” Robertson said in his response to Upston’s question about the updated numbers.

Upston said Robertson was forced to fill the 20,000 jobs the government had promised.

“For each of these unemployed people, it’s less money for their household. It is not enough when the government has promised 20,000 new jobs. “

While the ready-made projects are creating new jobs, the government can claim to have exceeded the capacity to reduce the unemployment rate.

Forecasts throughout last year set the unemployment rate in double digits, and the Treasury’s pre-election economic and financial update pushed the unemployment rate up to 7.7 percent in the June quarter of this year. year.

Instead, the most recent Stats NZ figures saw the unemployment rate fall to 4.9% in the December 2020 quarter, after peaking at 5.3% in September.

The government has faced similar problems with the jobs created by the Provincial Growth Fund projects, and many of the jobs promised have not materialized.

Figures released last month showed 7,000 people employed through the PGF, including full-time and part-time jobs combined.

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About Christopher Easley

Christopher Easley

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