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Figures Show Minister's Failure - Again

Figures Show Minister's Failure - Again

Sunday 27 Jul 2003 Dr Muriel Newman Press Releases -- Social Welfare

ACT New Zealand Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today accused Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey of a lack of leadership, in light of new figures showing a 61 percent increase in the number of registered unemployed.

"Answers to my written Parliamentary Questions have revealed that the number of people who have been registered unemployed for more than four years has risen 6,477 - from 10,526 when Labour was elected, to 17,003 today," Dr Newman said.

"Jobseekers unemployed over four years are the very people Labour should be assisting as its highest priority. It is not easy being on a benefit, but most people can cope in the short-term. In the long-term - and four years is truly long-term - the difficulties increase for the entire family. These figures show that, while benefiting from strong economic conditions and job growth, the Minister has failed to help the long-term unemployed.

"The Minister will dismiss this 61 percent rise in the Unemployment Register figures as unimportant. Yet these are 17,003 individuals - who, with their families included, would make up the entire population of cities like Gisborne or Whangarei - who are being affected.

"The Minister has failed to reduce long-term unemployment, and repeatedly dismisses it as unimportant. But - contrary to what the Minister may think - these people and their families do matter, and their futures are important.

"I urge Mr Maharey to reverse his arrogant approach, and to focus on helping the fast-growing numbers of entrenched long-term unemployed back into meaningful work," 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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