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Govt Abandons Those Most Needing Help Finding Jobs

Govt Abandons Those Most Needing Help Finding Jobs

Thursday, October 11 2001 Dr Muriel Newman Press Releases -- Employment

ACT Employment Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today released figures which reveal that the number of number of long term unemployed who most need Government help to get jobs has shot up over 40 percent since this Labour Government came into power.

"In response to one of my written Parliamentary written questions, Associate Employment Minister Ruth Dyson said that the number of people registered unemployed for over two years who fall into the 'employable with Department of Work and Income Assistance' category had as at the end of August risen to 19,619 from 13,932 in November 1999.

When people register as unemployed they are placed into categories from 0 to 5, ranging from 0 being a 'self starter', to 4 being 'Employable with DWI Assistance' and 5 'Employable with Special Assistance'.

"The people in category 4 have accounted for more than half of the 25 percent increase in the total number of people unemployed for more than two years since this Government was elected.

"Employment Minister Steve Maharey has been very fortunate his Government inherited benign employment conditions which have meant that the most readily employable people have been able to get work. He can't claim credit for that though. That's outside of his control. The true measure of success of an Employment Minister is how effective their policies are in creating work for those who for various reasons find it harder to get a job.

"This Minister's been a disaster, as the figures show. This is due to the failure of 'flagship' policies, such as his disastrous Community Employment Organisations project - which he said would create 1000 jobs, but created just 54 at a cost to the taxpayer of $1.5 million.

"Mr Maharey axed successful programmes such as work for the dole because it offended his academic ideology. In doing so he's demonstrated his total lack of practical nous and has condemned thousands to lengthy stretches on the dole.

"What we are now seeing in this country is the rapid development of an underclass of long term unemployed people locked in the welfare trap and with all the likely adverse social consequences that will stem from that.

"Once in Government ACT will remove the academic, theory-based claptrap from employment policies and will put emphasis in engaging the long term unemployed in 40 hour-a-week job seeking and training schemes," 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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