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Longterm Unemployment Jumps 26 Percent

Longterm Unemployment Jumps 26 Percent while Maharey Fiddles with his Numbers

Sunday 25th Mar 2001 Dr Muriel Newman Media Release -- Social Welfare

Steve Maharey must stop ignoring the human cost of his political manipulation of unemployment figures, ACT Employment Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman said today.

“Mr Maharey’s fiddling of statistics borders on deceit.

“He trumpets the ‘official’ Household Labour Survey results, which are grossly inaccurate. This measurement system is based on a small sample; people who have given up looking for a job are not counted as ‘unemployed’, while anybody who has worked even one hour in a single week is labelled ‘employed’.

“This ‘official’ measure has become so disparate with reality that the Australian chief statistician is working to replace the one hour measure with a ten hour measure.

“But Mr Maharey likes the discredited statistics. Using them, he boasts that only 32,400 people have been unemployed for six months. Yet the unemployment register shows this to be a lie.

“The unemployment register shows the true state of unemployment within New Zealand. This system, which Mr Maharey himself relied on in Opposition, shows registered unemployment has grown to 145,847. That is an irreconcilable 113,447 more people than Mr Maharey will admit to.

“Hardest hit are those at the bottom of the heap – the long-term unemployed.

“In answers to my parliamentary questions, the Minister revealed that the number of people unemployed for a four-year period has risen sharply from 10,526 at the end of November 1999 to 13,313 at the end of January 2001 – a jump of 26 per cent.

“Under Mr Maharey, these people have been dumped in the ‘too hard’ basket. He won’t even recognise their existence. Mr Maharey would far rather deal with false statistics than admit that each number represents a person his Government has failed to help.

“It is only when one considers that unemployment is rising while the country is in an economic growth period, that we can truly see how false Labour’s so-called compassion is. Hypocritical Labour is turning its back on those who most need help.

“Mr Maharey must stop insulting the registered unemployed – especially the 13,313 people who have been out of work for over four years. He should immediately announce a review of the discredited official figures he loves to exploit,” Dr Newman said.

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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