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Unemployment halved since 1999

26 May 2004

Unemployment halved since 1999

The number of people receiving the statutory Unemployment Benefit has halved since1999, Social Development and Employment Minister Steve Maharey told Parliament this afternoon.

Speaking during Parliamentary question time, Steve Maharey said as at last Friday (May 21) there were 67,804 people receiving a statutory Unemployment Benefit – down 53 per cent on the 143,818 people receiving the same benefit at the same time in 1999.

Steve Maharey said the latest unemployment figures were the lowest since July 1987 and illustrated the government’s success at promoting a job-rich economy.

“There are now 10 per cent more people in work than when the Labour-led government was elected – or 193,000 more New Zealanders now enjoying the security of paid employment.

“Economists predict that this job boom will continue, with indicators such as the ANZ Jobs Ads series running nearly ten per cent higher than this time last year.

“Yet, curiously, at the same time the National party continues to spread misinformation about so called ‘welfare dependency’ and has been advocating extreme policies like slashing benefit rates and the failed work-for-the-dole scheme.

“The folly of these ideas is unmasked by the best job statistics we have seen in a generation. It’s time for National to get real and come up with real policies not slogans.

“As tomorrow’s Budget will show, by focusing on sound economic management and job rich growth this government is now in a position to deliver another social dividend to low and middle income New Zealanders that will significantly alievate poverty and support even more New Zealanders in to work,” Steve Maharey said.

ENDS

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