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Govt Fiddles Job Figures Says Peters

Govt Fiddles Job Figures Says Peters

New Zealand First has accused the Government of manipulating unemployment figures by switching people from the dole to other benefits.

Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters today dismissed as “nonsense”, Steve Maharey’s claim that the number of people receiving the core unemployment benefit had dropped below 100,000 for the first time in 14 years.

“The Minister should explain perhaps why there has been a drastic 23 percent increase in those claiming invalids and sickness benefits since the start of 2000.

“These numbers have jumped from 85,017 to 104,304 and no explanation has been given for this increase during Mr Maharey’s stewardship.”

Mr Peters said he wanted the Minister to identify the new beneficiaries and explain whether they were long-term unemployed, new immigrants or simply a change in classification.

“It’s time the Government answered some of the hard questions instead of cynically spindoctoring its way out of trouble,” he said.

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