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Youth unemployment major issue under Labour

Judith Collins MP
National Party Welfare Spokeswoman

2 August 2007

Youth unemployment remains major issue under Labour

National’s Welfare spokeswoman, Judith Collins, is alarmed at new figures which show huge discrepancies in the Labour Government’s own sanitised statistics on the number of teenagers on a benefit.

“The number of 16- and 17-year-olds on the Invalid’s Benefit has increased by 70% in just one year.

“In June 2006, there were 1,054 16- and 17-year-olds on the Invalid’s Benefit. In June this year, that number increased to 1,776.

“The number of 16 and 17-year-olds on the Sickness Benefit has gone up from 142 to 524.

“The Labour Government has been crowing non-stop lately about a decrease in the number of 18- and 19-year-olds on benefits, but it has been noticeably silent in this area – now we know why.”

Ms Collins says another very disturbing revelation relates to the number of 16- and 17-year-olds on unemployment-related benefits.

“The number of 18- to 64-year-olds on unemployment-related benefits is 32,891, but the total number of people on unemployment-related benefits is 40,323 – a difference of 7,432.

“There would be very few people aged 65 and over on these benefits because they would be on NZ Super, so they can only be 16- and 17-year-olds.

“The total number of 18- to 64-year-olds on benefits excluding NZ Super and Veterans is 261,009, but the total number including those aged under 18 is 279,156.

“This confirms exactly what National has been saying. We still have a major problem with teenage unemployment, and the Labour Government has simply been shuffling the numbers and putting its own spin on things.

“It’s time we got the true facts, not the ducking and diving that this Government has made an art-form of.”


ENDS

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