The Alliance Party believes any government that purports to represent the people of New Zealand should have full employment as its main goal. They must state categorically that everyone who wants a job can have a job.
Every sphere of government influence should focus on the need to provide decent jobs for everyone – a well paid workforce paying taxes and producing goods and services that are environmentally sustainable and serve a useful purpose in New Zealand and overseas.
A return to full employment is the only foolproof way to reduce inequality, to make sure everyone has access to vital social services and infrastructure, and long term, to avoid economic, social and environmental disaster.
But a new approach is needed. The old ideal of a one income family where the breadwinner, usually male, works a forty hour week and the other partner stays at home to look after the kids it not necessarily relevant any more.
Full employment could mean recognizing work that has been traditionally unpaid and the contribution this makes to the wellbeing of us all. This could take the form of a universal income.
Full employment should mean that people can change careers and opt in and out of further education and training throughout their lives without subjecting themselves and their families to extreme financial hardship.
Full employment will mean that people are able to work the number of hours that fits in with their lifestyle at different stages of their working life. For example partners may opt to both work part time and share child care. Older people may wish to gradually reduce the number of hours they work.
Full employment must mean a direct challenge to the profit over people and planet approach. Too many people are working for highly profitable companies for wages that have now dropped below a liveable income. And the government picks up the tab, using money it could be directing towards creating employment opportunities for those in need of work.
Finally, the top echelon will have to accept that they have overrated their individual worth and are being grossly overpaid, to the detriment of the rest of us who perform equally valuable work.
The Alliance Party is a party of principles. We are committed to the common good – everybody has the right to a liveable income. The market will not lead the way. It is a crucial role of the government to make sure this happens.