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3% unemployment target an old hoax

31 October 1999

Treasurer Bill English said Labour's aim to bring the unemployment rate down to 3% was an old hoax.

"Labour has recycled a 1990 election promise, made when it was also getting desperate, to substantially reduce unemployment. No-one believed it then and no-one will believe it now.

"It is a hoax because none of the policies Labour is proposing back it up.

"Labour's policies will increases taxes, give unions more power in the workplace, make it harder for employers to give young people a chance at a job, and impose extra costs on business. These policies will not help create one job.

"It is business which creates jobs, not the Government. The Government's job is to create the right conditions for growth. We must support business with lower costs and flexible labour market policies, and do our bit by keeping Government spending down.

"The recent pre-election opening of the books showed that if we continue with National's policies over the next three years we will be able to create another 115,000 jobs and bring unemployment under 6%. These are realistic targets.

"Labour's claim that it can bring the unemployment rate down to 3% is also a hoax on all the people who think if they voted Labour they would get a job.

"If we're serious about dealing with unemployment in New Zealand we have got to tackle the hard core of the problem, and that means tackling high unemployment amongst Maori and Pacific Islanders.

"Underneath the unemployment statistics are a collection of individual stories. To make a difference for the people who have been unemployed for a long time we have got to get alongside and work with them on a one-to-one basis and we are. Changes National has made to welfare policies, including the work for the dole scheme, work testing and case management, are making a difference. But they have all been opposed by the Labour Opposition.

"Labour's promise to bring unemployment down to 3% is just a hoax. It has come at the same time as we've seen Helen Clark tell the CTU conference that unions will play a critical part in industrial relations under a Labour-led government.

"The only jobs that unions have ever created are jobs for union organisers. The unions are campaigning for a Labour/Alliance government, which speaks volumes about the benefits they see for unions under a left-wing government. These benefits have always been at the expense of people with less skills and less advantages trying to get into the workforce," said Mr English.

Ends

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