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Registered unemployment charts Government failure

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The latest registered unemployment figures demonstrate the Government's failure to tackle unemployment, says Labour's employment spokesperson Steve Maharey.

Work and Income NZ's June quarter customer profile, released today, shows a 15,778 (8.0%) increase in the number of registered unemployed during the quarter.

Over the nine months since Winz was formed the register has grown by 18,356, or 9.4%. The numbers grew in every category of unemployment duration except four years plus, where the decrease was a mere 1.3%. In the two years plus category the register grew by 28.1%. The ten years plus category increased by 15.3%.

Over the 12 months to June registered unemployment grew by 24,004 or 12.6%. The report notes that is the highest annual rate of increase since 1998.

"The increase over the past quarter is partly due to the government's oppressive and pointless work testing regime, which forces beneficiaries to register while doing nothing to help them find a job," Mr Maharey says. "But more than 5500 of the people added to the register over the quarter are not there because of work testing, implying they are newly unemployed."

Comparison with figures from 1996, when the National-NZ First Coalition took office and began the current Government's employment policy, show the obsession with finding "community work" for the unemployed has been at the expense of subsidised employment schemes.

Taskforce Green numbers have almost halved from 2752 in December 1996 to 1456 in June 1999, a 47% decline. Job Plus numbers are down from 7915 to 6668, a cut of 16%.

"The subsidised employment programmes that actually help people into work are shrinking, while the Government focuses on make-work schemes to keep the unemployed busy."

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