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Youth Unemployment Rockets Upward

Youth Unemployment Rockets Upward

It is frightening that unemployment among young adults has soared by over thirty percent in just twelve months, ACT Social Welfare and Employment Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman said today.

"Adults between 20 and 29 are just starting their working lives - they are the people that New Zealand will depend upon over the next few decades. Yet it is clear from today's unemployment figures that this group has received a clear message from the Labour Government that long-term dependence on welfare is acceptable.

"It is no surprise that the rise in unemployment comes during a period of underlying economic growth. The Government has axed sanctions for work testing for some unemployed, and increased incentives to remain on benefits.

"So despite the fact that the number one concern of firms in New Zealand is finding staff, we have the absurdity of an increase in unemployment.

"Of particular concern is the jump in the number of Maori and Pacific Island people out of work. The number of Maori unemployed has increased 8.4 percent over the last year, while the number of Pacific Island people unemployed has jumped by a massive 24.3 percent.

"This indicates that New Zealand is increasingly unable to deal with entrenched levels of unemployment, despite favourable economic conditions.

"Today's figures should have been much better, given the economic climate and the Government must now seriously re-think its soft-on-welfare policies, which are contributing to unacceptable unemployment statistics, particularly for young, Maori and Pacific Island job seekers.

"Minister Steve Maharey has clearly been caught by surprise by these figures - His sudden enthusiasm for the `registered employment figures' which he has long-derided as unreliable and irrelevant is a rather sad and embarrassing attempt to divert attention from his own Government's failures," Dr Muriel Newman said.

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