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Better But Not Yet Good Enough

MEDIA RELEASE

Thursday 5 August 1999

Better But Not Yet Good Enough

"The fact that unemployment is continuing to fall is good news, but 7% unemployment is still too high," Employers' Federation CEO Steve Marshall said today.

"It is clear that the country is climbing out of the situation caused largely by the Asian crisis and drought, evidenced by the good news that unemployment over the June to June year is down 11,000 and that 21,000 more people are in jobs.

"This demonstrates that the Employment Contracts Act is working well and is helping to support job creation as the economy starts to grow again.

"But the creation and retention of jobs is dependent on businesses having the right environment to operate in, a truth we hope all politicians remember as we head towards an election.

"The message is clear; levels of unemployment would reduce more quickly if business wasn't spending a fortune on bureaucratic complexities and if we all weren't carrying the high tax burden created by Government spending requirements.

"If we mean what we say about wanting full employment the trend for higher than ever government spending must be reversed, any suggestions of tax increases be put aside, and proposals which make it more difficult to employ such as repealing the Employments Contracts Act, or rolling back ACC reforms rejected.

"And we shouldn't be waiting until after the election to make further progress. As is happening overseas, Government should now be removing one of the major barriers to more jobs by introducing a personal grievance free probationary period.

"The trend of reduced unemployment is good, but there certainly is no room for complacency," he concluded.

ENDS

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