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Work replacing welfare in Hawke's Bay


Work replacing welfare in Hawke's Bay

Fewer people on the unemployment benefit is good news for Hawke's Bay

The number of people receiving the unemployment benefit in Hawke's Bay has
plummeted in the past five years, Associate Social Development and
Employment Minister and Tukituki MP Rick Barker announced today.

"According to Ministry of Social Development figures released today, in
March 1999 5,089 Hawke's Bay* people were in receipt of an unemployment
benefit. Five years later, that number has dropped by just over 75 percent
(3,796) to 1,293.

"This is fantastic news for Hawke's Bay and reinforces the bouyant
economic mood felt throughout the region. Having so many more people in
work is reflected in growing traffic volumes in Hastings and Napier, more
people on the streets shoppings and even to the till take at school
canteens.

"Everywhere I go, people are talking about increased business, more work
and better incomes. This is really exciting news for the region."

Mr Barker said government agencies, working in partnership with employers
in Hawke's Bay, had also placed record numbers of job seekers into paid
work and directed many more into training and skill development.

"Last year in Hawke's Bay there were over 2,800 people in industry
training alone. This result can be directly attributed to Government
initiatives like Jobs Jolt and Modern Apprenticeships that allow young
people to train for a career and older people the chance to develop new
skills for industries that need them."

Mr Barker said fewer unemployment beneficiaries in Hawke's Bay and around
the country meant more resources were available for areas like health and
education in this year's budget.

"The budget will also deliver further assistance to low and middle income
earners because the efforts of Government and employers to get people off
the unemployment benefit and into work are yielding such excellent
results."

New Zealand's unemployment rate is now historically low. There are fewer
than 79,000 people nationally on the unemployment benefit - half the 1999
level.

The number of working age New Zealanders on a main benefit has dropped by
more than 14 per cent - from over 381,000 when the Labour-led government
came to office to under 326,000 today.

"We want to steer even more people off benefits and towards those
employers, industries and regions that require skilled workers for growth
and innovation to continue," Mr Barker said.

ENDS

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