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Timing Right To Tell The Truth, Labour

Timing Right To Tell The Truth, Labour

Friday 30 Jan 2004 Dr Muriel Newman Press Releases -- Social Welfare

The Labour Department's prediction, that unemployment will drop to four percent by 2006, shows it's time for Labour to remedy the inconsistencies in its recording of unemployment, ACT New Zealand Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman said today.

"With figures looking so rosy, would now not be a perfect time for Labour to consider other measures, to give us a more accurate figure of unemployment?" Dr Newman said.

"New Zealand currently records unemployment with the Household Labour Force Survey - a survey based on only 13,000 households, where people are not classed as unemployed if they work an hour a week or are not actively seeking employment. Clearly, this international measure does not provide an accurate representation of real unemployment.

"The HLFS, however, is a Government favourite. It allows Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey to ignore the fact that - in the midst of a nationwide skilled and unskilled worker shortage - we have more than 100,000 able-bodied people on the dole.

"In fact, the nonsense of the current system is such that if every single Unemployment Beneficiary were to work only one hour a week, official figures would state that we have zero unemployment - which would clearly be untrue.

"If Labour wants to crow about low unemployment figures, then it should follow the example set by other countries and publish a second measure - such as the number of Unemployment Beneficiaries - alongside the HLFS.

"By releasing such information the Labour Government would have credibility in its announcements about the true number of unemployed in New Zealand," 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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