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Unemployment stats damning indictment of National

5 November 2009
Media Statement

Unemployment statistics a damning indictment of National’s ‘hands-off’ approach

Today’s Household Labour Force Survey statistics provide a damning indictment of the Government’s hands-off approach to helping hard-working New Zealanders keep their jobs, says Labour Finance spokesperson David Cunliffe.

“The Government is still trying to disown the problem,” David Cunliffe said. “In its reaction to today’s September quarter statistics, it says the new unemployment rate of 6.5 percent is in line with what was expected. That is simply not good enough.

“New Zealand went into the recession with a lower unemployment rate than Australia’s. The Australian rate is now static at 5.7 percent while New Zealand’s has climbed another half percent in the last quarter to 6.5 percent.

“The number of people employed in Australia is increasing. In contrast, in the past three months the number of people employed in New Zealand has decreased by 17,000.

“Even more significantly, the number of Kiwis who are underemployed and would prefer to be working more hours has increased to 24.4 percent or more than 122,000 people. Australia does not seem to have this problem.”

David Cunliffe said Australia went into the recession determined to position itself to come out of the recession ready to “boom again” with a highly-skilled workforce and an economy benefiting from heavy investment in research and development.

“National has talked of the need to close the gap between New Zealand and Australia, but National’s policies of cutting funding to areas like adult education and R and D will leave us further behind.

“In fact, the reality shown by today’s figures is that we are already falling significantly further behind, and the rate at which we are doing so is accelerating.

“For the sake of New Zealanders, the Government cannot afford to be sitting on the sidelines with no plan of action. Kiwis being made redundant through no fault of their own are bearing the brunt of the recession.

“There are now 150,000 unemployed New Zealanders who need the Government to be taking a lead in creating an economy that will enable them to participate productively in society in the way they want to,” David Cunliffe said

“Finance Minister Bill English needs to spend less time talking about beating the Aussies, and more time helping New Zealanders to do just that.”

ENDS

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