Truth be told

Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION -

Editor,

It is thanks to the Do­min­ion Post ar­ti­cle Au­gust 22 that we in Porirua at last have learnt some of the truth about our ‘‘in­vest­ment’’ in Smartlinx3.

The new chief ex­ec­u­tive in­formed the Dom Post that the com­pany, which has taken over $3 mil­lion of pub­lic money, had ‘‘a cou­ple of hun­dred’’ cus­tomers (that’s a $15,000 sub­sidy to each cus­tomer), that there wasn’t a sale on the net­work in the past 12 months; that there was no busi­ness plan for the board to check up on and that ‘‘they had pub­lic funds so no real pres­sure to gen­er­ate money’’.

Clearly nei­ther our salaried nor elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives de­serve to spend our money on such en­ter­prises. How­ever, it is not sur­pris­ing that our coun­cil has con­tin­ued to put our money in this ven­ture, or that our CEO lauds Smartlinx’s per­for­mance (Jan­uary press re­lease).

After all, it is ‘‘pub­lic money’’ so its loss doesn’t re­ally af­fect our salaried and elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives per­sonal in­come streams. What seems important to these peo­ple is that no one rock the boat or be per­for­mance man­aged. Why else would a de­ci­sion have been taken to in­vite a new share­holder into the com­pany but there be no com­mit­tee record on the coun­cil web­site to record that the Smartlinx com­mit­tee has even met since April 29, 2010 (with that meet­ing last­ing just three min­utes and be­ing totally se­cret)?

When will our mayor (who was, said his sup­port­ers last elec­tion, able to hit the ground run­ning) de­mand from the chief ex­ec­u­tive and him­self the level of per­for­mance that peo­ple in the pri­vate sec­tor on sim­i­lar salaries must de­liver?

BRIAN COLLINS, Pa­pakowhai. de­vel­op­ing long-term wel­fare de­pen­dency as these are the years they should be ac­tively gain­ing skills and build­ing a port­fo­lio of work ex­pe­ri­ence.

If those years are spent on a ben­e­fit in­stead of work­ing or in train­ing, then they are likely to find it even more dif­fi­cult to find em­ploy­ment as they get older. So these age groups are be­ing tar­geted be­fore a long-term prob­lem is de­vel­oped, which will have a pos­i­tive ef­fect on ben­e­fi­ciary num­bers from all age brack­ets in the fu­ture.

While I do agree with his ar­gu­ments that the best way of get­ting peo­ple off wel­fare is in a way that en­cour­ages job cre­ation, he does seem to lack in­sight into the ways in which gov­ern­ment schemes are al­ready do­ing so.

Work and In­come have work bro­kers who build re­la­tion­ships with em­ploy­ers in their com­mu­nity, and those em­ploy­ers do re­ceive wage and train­ing sub­si­dies pro­vided they em­ploy the re­ferred for­mer ben­e­fi­cia­ries for at least 30 hours per week for a min­i­mum six-month pe­riod.

These sub­si­dies are pri­mar­ily pro­vided for those that hire for­mer ben­e­fi­cia­ries that are in the 16-18 age bracket or are clas­si­fied as low skilled. It is also be­ing pro­posed that any cuts from the pro­posed wel­fare changes will be re­al­lo­cated to wage and train­ing sub­sidy bud­gets.

If this isn’t fos­ter­ing poli­cies of full em­ploy­ment then what is?

E WATERS, Porirua. Porirua to de­liver the course. The ad­van­tages for both the stu­dents and the in­sti­tu­tions are ob­vi­ous.

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