Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Newman’s attack on employment statistics pathetic

Newman’s attack on employment statistics pathetic

The latest attack by Act MP Muriel Newman questioning the validity of official unemployment statistics has been labelled as pathetic by Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey.

Mrs Newman issued a media statement yesterday claiming that the Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS) used by Statistics New Zealand to determine New Zealand’s official unemployment rate is being abandoned in other countries, that New Zealand’s ‘true’ unemployment rate is considerably higher than the 4.9 percent figure released earlier this week and that the survey methodology also understates unemployment. All these statements are inaccurate.

Steve Maharey said with unemployment now reaching a 15-year low, opposition politicians have become increasingly desperate to wip up bad news stories, but Mrs Newman’s latest attempt is pathetic.

“Continuing employment growth has now delivered a 15-year low unemployment rate in New Zealand. Translated into jobs, the 4.9 percent unemployment rate means that 123,000 more New Zealanders are now in employment than when the Labour-led government took office in December 1999.

“The government is far from complacent at these results because we recognise that too many New Zealanders still lack the dignity of paid work. In addition eternal factors, such as a war in Iraq, clearly loom as potential threats to our economy.

“Frankly Mrs Newman’s claims have no validity: she claims that countries are abandoning the HLFS because of concerns about its validity. In fact the opposite is true. Policy in the European Union is to standardise the measurement on unemployment to the ILO guideline based on a HLFS. Countries are in fact moving to adopt the HLFS, as the United Kingdom has recently done; she claims that New Zealand’s ‘true’ unemployment rate is considerably higher than 4.9 percent by counting some people twice; she claims that using unemployment benefit statistics would be a more effective measure despite knowing that many of those receiving the unemployment benefit are working part time; and to top it all off

. . / 2 she claims that increasing the ‘hours worked’ requirement would double New Zealand’s unemployment rate. I am advised that even if you did count those who are working less than 10 hours per week it wouldn’t make much difference to the figures.

“However I am prepared to be charitable and concede that Mrs Newman might not actually understand survey methodology. My officials are due to brief the Social Services Select Committee next month on measuring unemployment. I look forward to sensible comments from Mrs Newman following the briefing,” Steve Maharey said.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Veronika Meduna: The Kaikoura Rebuild

A Scoop Foundation Investigation

Friday will be a big day for people north of Kaikōura – and for hundreds of construction workers who are racing to reopen State Highway 1 in time for the holiday season.

By the afternoon, the South Island’s main transport corridor will be open to traffic again, more than a year after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake mangled bridges and tunnels, twisted rail tracks and buried sections of the road under massive landslides. More>>


BPS HYEFU WYSIWYG: Labour's Budget Plans, Families Package

“Today we are announcing the full details of the Government’s Families Package. This is paid for by rejecting National’s tax cuts and instead targeting spending at those who need it most. It will lift 88,000 children out of poverty by 2021." More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Defence Spending, Alabama, And Dolly Parton

The spending lavished on Defence projects to meet the risks that could maybe, possibly, theoretically face New Zealand in future is breath-taking, given how successive governments have been reluctant to spend even a fraction of those amounts on the nation’s actual social needs. More>>


Members' Bills: End Of Life Choice Bill Passes First Reading

The End of Life Choice Bill in the name of David Seymour has been sent to a select committee for consideration by 76 votes to 44. It is the third time Parliament has voted on the issue in recent decades and the first time such a Bill has made it over the first hurdle. More>>


State Sector: MPI Survives Defrag Of Portfolios

The Ministry for Primary Industries will not be split under the new government, but will instead serve as an overarching body for four portfolio-based entities focused on fisheries, forestry, biosecurity and food safety. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Vulnerable Kids, RNZ Funding, And Poppy

The decision to remove the word ‘vulnerable’ from the Ministry for Vulnerable Children could well mark a whole shift in approach to the care of children in need... More>>





Featured InfoPages