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Unemployment to increase under Labour

Unemployment to increase under Labour

Social Services Minister Steve Maharey's political attacks over the unemployment figures show he is more concerned with politics than with the lives of the people under his portfolio, says National Social Services Spokesperson Katherine Rich.

"Today's drop in numbers of people on benefits from last year is welcome, but that 134,416 people are in receipt of unemployment benefits, is no cause for celebration by the Minister.

"The number of long-term unemployed is rising and the December Economic Fiscal Update predicts that by 2006 there will be nearly 30,000 more people on welfare in New Zealand.

"Under the best economic conditions in a generation Labour has done nothing to reduce welfare dependency.

"I don't believe 134,416 people on the dole - the size of a city - is an acceptable casualty of Labour's inaction. I know in my heart that life is better off welfare and the Minister's own research confirms this.

"I am very concerned that under this Minister the number of long-term unemployed has increased 10 percent* - this is part of why National is now looking at time-limited benefits and solutions to reducing welfare dependency.

"Far from "sloganeering", National is determined to find a practical solution to this growing problem. We owe it to our citizens to provide a framework which gives them the opportunity to use their skills and the potential to make a positive contribution.

"New Zealand has far too many Kiwis on welfare and Treasury's latest forecasts that the number will only increase under Labour show why National is finding solutions," says Katherine Rich.

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