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Maharey’s Dismissal Of Unemployed Disgraceful

Maharey’s Dismissal Of 108,000 Unemployed Disgraceful

Employment Minister Steve Maharey’s latest outburst against ACT Employment Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman shows that he is rattled over the problem of the country’s worsening long-term unemployment.

“Mr Maharey accuses me of using inaccurate information when I am simply using the same unemployment figures he himself constantly referred to when he was in Opposition,” Dr Newman said.

“Mr Maharey well knows that the long-term unemployed statistics as compiled by the Department of Work and Income are the most reliable figures to use. He was happy to use them in Opposition when this suited his purpose.

“Now when these same figures show that he as Minister has presided over an almost 20,000 increase in long term unemployment to 108,000, he is attempting to cover-up this appalling performance. He’s trying to hide behind other statistics which, while suitable for international comparisons, are not the best figures to track New Zealand’s real unemployment position.

“The nearly 20,000 extra people who have become unemployed for longer than a year since this government has been in power, are real people, each and every one of them. This Minister’s dismissal of their very existence is disgraceful. Never before in our history has a Minister of Employment been so disinterested in the wellbeing of the long-term unemployed.

“The fact that Mr Maharey has resorted to attacking the messenger clearly shows he is incapable of handling this serious social issue. He would do well to come clean about his Government’s failure to stem the rising tide of long-term unemployment, stating what he intends to do to create a lasting solution to the problem. If he cannot do that he should resign and pass the portfolio over to someone who is not only committed, but who really cares,” Dr Newman said.

ENDS

Footnote: The HLFS measure of unemployment excludes people who are unemployed but not actively looking for work, and it counts as employed, people who work for only one or two hours a week.

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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