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Government 'Loses' Unemployed

Government 'Loses' Unemployed

Wednesday 12 Feb 2003 Dr Muriel Newman Press Releases -- Social Welfare

ACT New Zealand Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today expressed deep concern for up to 37,000 missing New Zealanders - all conspicuously absent from the Labour Force Household Survey.

"The Government's claims that only 5,400 New Zealanders have been unemployed for more than two years are totally misleading," Dr Newman said.

"Answers to Parliamentary Questions in December clearly show that more than 42,000 New Zealanders, who are currently on the dole, have been paid benefits for more than two years.

"It is, therefore, deeply disturbing to discover that there are 37,000 New Zealanders who now appear to be missing. My question to the Government is: where are they?

"The Government gloats about unemployment figures, yet the reality is that almost 400,000 people are dependent on state benefits. At a time when small businesses throughout the country are crying out for workers, these figures clearly show that the welfare system is not working.

"Labour, however, hides behind the smokescreen of the Labour Force Household survey - which does not count people as unemployed if they are not actively seeking work, or have worked for more than one hour in the past two years.

"I challenge the Government tell us the whereabouts of these 37,000 missing persons - because they do exist. They are real people, who have been on benefits for more than two years - yet have not been incorporated into Government statistics.

"It is time for the Government to be honest - both with itself, and the country - about the true number of unemployed beneficiaries, as revealed by the Minister's more accurate statistics," Dr Newman said.

ENDS


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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