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More Wellingtonians out of work under National

More Wellingtonians out of work under National

Responsibility for the significant increase in the number of Wellingtonians out of work sits squarely on the shoulders of the National government, says Rimutaka MP Chris Hipkins.

Latest Household Labour Force Survey figures show that the number of unemployed people in Wellington increased again in the final quarter of last year, rising to 15,700 people. Overall the number of unemployed people in the Wellington region has increased by over 5,000 since National took office.

“While increasing numbers of Kiwis find themselves on the unemployment scrapheap, John Key’s National government seems content to sit on the sidelines. Employment Minister Paula Bennett even issued a press statement headed ‘Slow recovery fits Government focus on economy’. It’s not a slow recovery for those who have just lost their jobs, for them the economy is going backwards,” Chris Hipkins said.

“National seems quite happy to think of the unemployed as mere statistics, but they’re not, they’re real people with real families, real mortgages and real bills to pay. This government is leaving them high and dry and that’s just not good enough.

“Not only has National failed to stimulate the economy and create jobs, they’ve actually done the opposite, slashing funding for tertiary education and night classes, and severely cutting public sector spending, which has had a huge flow-on effect for the capital’s economy.

“Despite promising to cap, not cut, the number of people working in the public service before the election, last year State Services Minister Tony Ryall was practically gloating about the fact that he’s slashed over 2,000 public sector jobs, many of which will have been in Wellington.

“National’s public sector cuts have a flow-on effect to all parts of the Wellington economy, with many small businesses and retailers also feeling the pinch.

“When John Key became Prime Minister he promised to make job creation one of his highest priorities, hosting a grand ‘Jobs Summit’ where he was happy to smile and wave for the cameras. Two years on, nothing has happened, and now he’s ducking for cover,” Chris Hipkins said.

Mr Hipkins said the Labour Party had a plan for growing the economy and creating jobs, in stark contrast to National’s ‘hands-off’ approach.

“We’ll certainly look at what Australia have done, investing hugely in skills and training during the recession to keep people in work and make sure people can quickly return to the workforce if they do find themselves out of a job.

“John Key promised New Zealanders that under his watch we’d catch up with Australia. Well he has done in one respect, we used to have a much lower unemployment rate than the Aussies and now we’ve comfortably overtaken them,” Chris Hipkins said.

ends

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