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Maharey Dismissive Of Long Term Unemployed

Employment Minister Steve Maharey has been accused of ignoring a growing crisis and showing no concern for the rocketing number of people registered as unemployed for more than a year, ACT Employment Spokesman Muriel Newman said today.

Dr Newman pointed to figures released by Mr Maharey showing the number of long term unemployed had exploded to a record high of 106,831 in August.

"In the last couple of years he's banged away incessantly at levels of registered unemployed.

Today he describes the measure as simply an 'administrative tool' used by WINZ," Dr Newman said.

In 1998 the Minister was quoted as saying "the increase in those unemployed for more than a year was of particular concern" when he attacked the then increase to 57,600.

"Now that number has rocketed to over 106,000, and he's totally dismissive of it. This is absolutely outrageous for a Minister of Employment," Dr Newman said.

"These are 106,831 individual people. They are not an administrative statistic as Maharey openly dismisses them. They are people, and they have all been out of work for over a year," she said.

"What happened to his particular concern for these people just two years ago?

"If 57,600 was bad, then what of a 20% increase since the election to 106,831?

"He would like to now ignore those people registered as unemployed, because the simple truth is that unemployment, particularly long-term unemployment, is rising under his Government’s failing economic stewardship."

This is another example of the Maharey principle- say something in Opposition, forget about it in Government,” 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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