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Focus on jobs needs to continue

Hon Ruth Dyson
Spokesperson for Social Development and Employment

6 November 2008 Media Statement

Focus on jobs needs to continue

The quarterly Household Labour Force Survey released today emphasises that now more than ever, New Zealand needs a trusted leader with a clear vision says Employment Spokesperson Ruth Dyson.

"The world economy is in a state of turmoil affecting people all over the globe. That is why Labour announced a comprehensive plan to promote and protect kiwi jobs," said Ruth Dyson.

New Zealand's strong performance over the last nine years means that we are in a good position to weather the storm. High levels of labour market participation continue and the number of jobs has continued to grow with 21,000 more people employed over the last year. The Labour Force Participation Rate is the highest ever recorded.

"There is, however, no cause for complacency. New Zealand's unemployment rate has risen from 3.9% to 4.2%. Although this rate remains considerably lower than the OECD average of 6%, it equates to an increase of 6,000 in the number of people who are unemployed this quarter. Any loss of jobs is devastating to both individuals and families and we will offer assistance and support to those affected.

To combat the severity of the world economic downturn Labour has a clear plan outlined by Helen Clark last Sunday to further stimulate the economy by creating and protecting jobs. Labour will bring forward the $1 billion home efficiency fund, retrofitting older houses with a labour intensive programme that will provide jobs throughout New Zealand.

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"Labour will also provide an enhanced Financial Assistance Rate of funding for regions so local authorities can bring forward projects such as road maintenance and create further jobs. Labour will also bring forward the roll out of superfast broadband to create jobs in regions that require economic stimulus.

"In contrast National are promising projects designed to buy electorate votes and disguising this as a plan for the economy. At the same time National will ditch the Research and Development tax credit, make it easier for small businesses to fire new employees and slash Kiwi Saver.

"Labour does not want to see the return to the high levels of unemployment experienced in the 90s under National. Labour has a package ready for implementation and a social security net ready to assist those in need. The Job Search Allowance and Labour Market Managers will ensure that New Zealanders are in the best possible position to retrain and start new jobs in an economy stimulated by a comprehensive package," said Ruth Dyson.


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