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Speaker: What PACE actually does

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  • Raymond A Francis,

    Great to hear it worked for you Robyn
    Are there any figures on how many people have been accepted into PACE

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 577 posts Report Reply

  • Jacqui Dunn,

    I feel Minister Bennett thinks that people are being too picky. Available work is available work, full-stop. Being able to make sure unemployed people get into the right jobs seems to be a step or two too far for her.

    As usual, it's one or two cases that have been sought out for the "news" that eventually sway opinion against what was a really good idea.

    Deepest, darkest Avondale… • Since Jul 2010 • 585 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    I will alert Jacinda Adern to this discussion as she will be interested in it.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2558 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Just as an example - what if you're the kind of person who thinks its unethical to make money from the arts? How do you make a living when you have money issues like that? Yeah, you need to get your shit sorted out.

    This seems like a thorny issue. Given that I have a close relative who feels exactly this way, I've experienced the reasoning. But I find it hard to reconcile with the fact that they're perfectly happy to take money from people who do work, and usually in things that "aren't their dream job", because that's the lot of most working people, doing a lot of stuff that they really wouldn't feel like doing if it weren't for the bills that need to be paid.

    It made sense for a while. But after 15-odd years, it's wearing thin. I'm not about to suggest their benefits get cut, or the constant stream of support from the family be severed, but I do tire of hearing about the horrors of how hard their life is, when any suggestion about how to change the situation is angrily rebuffed.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10653 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to BenWilson,

    But I find it hard to reconcile with the fact that they're perfectly happy to take money from people who do work, and usually in things that "aren't their dream job", because that's the lot of most working people, doing a lot of stuff that they really wouldn't feel like doing if it weren't for the bills that need to be paid.

    Except the pool of jobs is finite, so this relative of yours is not actually taking money from anybody else. The benefit isn't a living wage, it's a small subsidy set well below the poverty line. Artists (or anybody really) who can't cope with dishwashing in between paid work in their chosen fields, in the jobs that they are trained to do and in which they can make a contribution, aren't really making society poorer, or living it up large at the taxpayers' expense.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Kate Hannah,

    thanks for this Robyn. I think now it has become a token thing - my sister was on the unemployment benefit over the summer after finishing a postgrad dip in curatorship (she also has a 4 year design degree) and was offered PACE but still required to go to the awful work seminars you describe - where all other attendees had no skills, no work experience etc, and were the focus of staff attention (rightly so - but what a waste of her time to attend three such meetings when she was applying for up to three jobs a week - and had no car so had to account for travel time to the WINZ office they decided was her local) She's got a job now - through her own networks and hard work. What a pity something that offered real skills and support seems to be token now.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2010 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    I guess it shows that despite all the negative publicity there are some very good people and programmes within WINZ. It's such a pity that our current govt views them as a simple drain on the tax dollar when they really do help people find productive worthwhile jobs and careers.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4458 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Except the pool of jobs is finite, so this relative of yours is not actually taking money from anybody else.

    Trying to get my head around what you're saying here. Do you mean that if they take a job, they take it away from someone else, who ends up on the benefit, so the net result for the benefit pool is the same?

    Or are you saying that taking from the benefit pool is never taking from anyone else?

    But the money I was actually referring to was not benefit money. It's the familial support stream, which definitely does take money from someone else.

    I don't have a problem with this kind of benefit, if the idea of it is to enable people to find their way into fulfilling paid work. I'm not so sure about it if the idea is to support the person for their entire life, because they have a fundamental objection to doing things other people actually want, however fulfilling they find that.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10653 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    If Paula Benefit (and more likely, her advisers, and people in the relevant ministries) knew anything they’d know that capacity underutilization is a real idea, and serious object of concern. Having a physics PhD stack supermarket shelves is in nobody’s interest (unless they’re an immigrant, in which case they “lack local experience”, because NZ photons behave differently). The economy (to speak nothing of the person themselves) is losing a huge amount of potential productive work. To have the state sanction this, as is essentially the case, is ridiculous. While trained people are given somewhat more leeway to find something at least tangentially utilizing some of their skill, it isn't much. And since the system remained under Labour geared to the assumption that unemployed were just units to be shifted, that's remained the case. It is of course likely to intensify in the next few years.

    Not incidentally, laws that make losing a job more risky tend to make people take less opportunities to seek better employment, increasing underutilization. The countries in the world with the highest labour productivity also tend to have comfortable short/medium-term unemployment packages (and economies designed to train, and then pick up people’s skills)

    I had the misfortune of having to go onto the dole in 2005. Misfortune, because my experience was entirely similar to the first part of this story. Rather than endure Work and Income try and shoehorn me into the very first job that required a warmed-up corpse, I went back into education, and then to Australia. I will very likely face similar circumstances again in a couple of weeks.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to BenWilson,

    Trying to get my head around what you're saying here. Do you mean that if they take a job, they take it away from someone else, who ends up on the benefit, so the net result for the benefit pool is the same?

    Yes - especially if they have to take jobs that are menial, which is often the case. The roll of people who used the dole as a filler between creative projects includes individuals who forged whole industries (Weta) or at any rate whose eventual contribution didn't come out of the available pool, but rather added to it. That's what you lose by forcing your artists or your writers or your intellectuals to become dishwashers.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    I feel Minister Bennett thinks that people are being too picky

    Not picky enough! There's a migrant worker scheme to bring in Pacific labourers to pick fruit in places like Waikati. It is being touted as a particularly effective form of direct aid, which it could be, if not for the 19th century actions of employers.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    a smart and active way of helping certain types of unemployed people get work

    Unfortunately this contravenes current government ideology.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    It made sense for a while. But after 15-odd years, it’s wearing thin. I’m not about to suggest their benefits get cut, or the constant stream of support from the family be severed, but I do tire of hearing about the horrors of how hard their life is, when any suggestion about how to change the situation is angrily rebuffed.

    That's an awfully long time to be holding out against reality. After a while, if you can't find work in your chosen field, you look for something related in which you can.

    Unfortunately reality isn't kind. That doesn't mean it can't have some tact, or be at least slightly accomodating.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    That's what you lose by forcing your artists or your writers or your intellectuals to become dishwashers.

    It doesn't seem quite so clear cut to me. There's also a lot of successful artists who worked in shitty jobs to pay the bills too.

    But I'm not even vaguely suggesting that benefits should be cut, even for people who are simply lazy. I just find issue with the idea of it as a career choice, because for some reason it's wrong to make money from one's art. You *are* making money from it, just by being on such a benefit. Just not very much.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10653 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to George Darroch,

    I had the misfortune of having to go onto the dole in 2005. Misfortune, because my experience was entirely similar to the first part of this story. Rather than endure Work and Income try and shoehorn me into the very first job that required a warmed-up corpse, I went back into education, and then to Australia. I will very likely face similar circumstances again in a couple of weeks.

    I was lucky enough to be in that position at a time (1991) when the then-National government was very keen to move people to Taskforce Green and/or Job Plus. We did Planet magazine on that basis for about 18 months.

    It paid only what the dole paid, but instead of being hassled to do something where my skills would be wasted, I was able to do something that developed my skills – and which, I think, had beneficial effects for businesses around us. I certainly increased my own value in the employment market, and thus paid more tax than would otherwise have been the case. I also worked bloody hard.

    The irony is that TFG and Job Plus operated without anything like the level of accountability demanded by PACE. They were very loosey-goosey indeed. But that was then, this now …

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    That doesn't mean it can't have some tact, or be at least slightly accomodating.

    I find being unable to even broach reality, after receiving quite a lengthy rag session about how hard life it, to be taking accommodating to extremes.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10653 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to BenWilson,

    It doesn't seem quite so clear cut to me. There's also a lot of successful artists who worked in shitty jobs to pay the bills too.

    Yes. Famously Martin Edmond drives a taxy between books - fine and good on him. It's just not for everyone. It pays to consider that some of any generation's most creative minds are often barely functioning human beings - if there are ways to accommodate that, and to recognise that maybe not hassling them for a while might lead to pretty amazing results, they ought to be pursued. But it goes to George's point more generally that we should strive to create a society where people can utilise their skills, as opposed to filling whatever available employment slot there may be at any one time.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    I find being unable to even broach reality, after receiving quite a lengthy rag session about how hard life it, to be taking accommodating to extremes.

    Of course, you'll find no disagreement from me. I was talking about the Government and its agencies, rather than yourself.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    It pays to consider that some of any generation's most creative minds are often barely functioning human beings

    The conundrum is that most of the barely functioning human beings of any generation are not it's most creative minds. The correlation between not functioning and being artistic is not really that strong.

    But we have a duty as a rich country to look after our barely functioning folks, artistic or not.

    we should strive to create a society where people can utilise their skills, as opposed to filling whatever available employment slot there may be at any one time.

    For sure, and I've come across quite a few people outside of paid employment who actually work curiously hard, often at things they could be paid for too. They just can't stand to do it as a job.

    I don't think we've got that society, though, where utilizing skills can be everyone's thing. There's not really many people so unskilled that digging trenches is all they can do. But someone has to dig trenches.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10653 posts Report Reply

  • Jacqui Dunn, in reply to BenWilson,

    There’s not really many people so unskilled that digging trenches is all they can do.

    In fact, some people are very good at that endless, mindless hard slog. They make it look effortless. Put that person behind a counter, and there'd be some problems.
    Actually, I have to agree with George that fifteen years of pursuing one's dream "job" without success is a very long time. With the arts anyway, even if you are in work fairly regularly, there will be a hiatus or two. I coped with acting over many years by delving into other allied areas. I wasn't always terribly comfortable doing it, but it paid the rent and the bills. Never was on the dole as an actor - I had to wait until well past my prime to do that :)

    Deepest, darkest Avondale… • Since Jul 2010 • 585 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    It pays to consider that some of any generation’s most creative minds are often barely functioning human beings

    The conundrum is that most of the barely functioning human beings of any generation are not it’s most creative minds. The correlation between not functioning and being artistic is not really that strong.

    I think "barely functioning human beings" is overstating the case. But I've known artists who are bugger-all good for anything else.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Yup, any kind of benefit that's even basically aimed at being a stopgap between paid employment, isn't really for "barely functioning human beings" who are probably best on a disability benefit. If they're not already wards of the state.

    In fact, some people are very good at that endless, mindless hard slog. They make it look effortless. Put that person behind a counter, and there'd be some problems.

    They're in luck then, there's always plenty of mindless hard slog. Pity about the pay, but if they actually like it, that's got to count for something.

    Actually, I have to agree with George that fifteen years of pursuing one's dream "job" without success is a very long time.

    Well, there have been many well received pieces, and many short term paid contracts in that time, but it's never migrated into a going concern. I keep hoping it will.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10653 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    When you put a lot of your energy into words & colours & sounds &tastes (because that is what you know & do really well) and you find a way to make a living doing that - that is really good.
    And then you learn that there is another cocomittant to that living as it has been
    organised by people you dont know: you are expected to be a public-relations person - and you have no skills in that area whatsoever.
    I am a really good functioning family member/friend - but I dont do/CANT do - crowds (I nearly drank myself to death, trying, in the 1990s.)

    I am trying to refinance (loan mortgage) my life: I've done all the hard slog bits. I have not squandered what I have earned over the past decades. And, while I am an exceptionally good fishnchip cook (and fisher) maybe the land would like my latent unborn stories better?

    Dunno.

    Will make another application to CNZ this month-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __,

    Most of my art school contemporaries are now working in fields not related to the arts, while others have moved through several different types of work to eventually return to the creative industries. Art school is generally a high-pressure environment, but it's one where you're surrounded by mentors and have all the facilities and resources to meet the demands of your study. When you graduate, suddenly all that stops, and figuring out, alone, how to earn money from your skills is a huge challenge. With the right mentoring, it's much easier. I had great help from our regional economic development agency, the Canterbury Development Corporation (CDC), which runs a lot of small-business courses which are fully government funded, and also offers advice and one-to-one mentoring if requested, most of which is given without charge.

    I think art and design schools could do a lot more liaising with industry, which would help smooth the transition into paid work for their graduates. Otherwise we end up highly-skilled but struggling to fend for ourselves. And the help we need is not only specific to the creative industries, and different from employment/business in other fields, but is often highly personal and particular.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3891 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to BenWilson,

    isn't really for "barely functioning human beings" who are probably best on a disability benefit.

    Ahem. Most people on disability benefits are not "barely functioning". The problem is that our employment arrangements, education and transport systems, built environments and social attitudes do not work properly for everyone. Fundamental barriers exclude many disabled New Zealanders from making their full contribution. Look there before you demonise individuals.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

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