The very restrained and moderate welfare reforms announced by the government have resulted in the obvious question: where are the jobs for the beneficiaries who could work and will now be expected to seek work?
One answer lies in occupations where there is a high proportion of immigrants, among which is dairying.
It is work which requires stamina and the ability to work long hours but the tasks required of basic dairy workers aren’t particularly difficult to master.
Most position offer on-farm accommodation. Workers also have the opportunity to study through AgITO, gain qualifications and promotion.
Yet people who advertise for dairy workers often end up with immigrants because they can’t find New Zealanders willing to do the job.
Last year our dairy farms had a distinctly international look with staff from Belgium, England, the USA, Ireland, Sweden and Nigeria.
More than 1,000 people from the Philipines are working, or will be next season, on dairy farms in Southland.
It might not be easy for solo-parents to find child-care to enable them to work the hours required in dairying and some older people might not cope with the physical demands of the job.
But there are jobs there for younger people who aren’t primary caregivers with the will to work.