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Youth unemployment still at record level

Jacinda ARDERN
Spokesperson on Employment
Spokesperson for Youth Affairs

4 August 2011

Youth unemployment still at record level

The soaring youth unemployment rate, already one of the highest among OECD countries and worsening, is a shameful example of the Government’s failure to recognise the crisis facing the country’s young job seekers, Labour’s Employment and Youth Affairs spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.

Despite the National Government promising it would bring unemployment levels down, the Household Labour Force Survey, released today, showed that number of people out of work was static, to the detriment of young New Zealanders, she said.

“Employment Minister Paula Bennett needs to realise that her inaction on this matter is costing the country. Earlier this year she admitted in the House that she had no solution to the problem. Then, last month, she attempted to shift the blame onto young people, suggesting that there was plenty of work out there if only they improved their attitude to finding it.

“The Household Labour Force Survey paints an even bleaker picture, with 27.6 per cent of 15-19 year olds without a job. That’s 39,300 young people.

“Over the last quarter, despite Paula Bennett dismissing high unemployment levels in this age group as simply young people looking for paper runs, there were 35,800 school leavers (15-19 year olds) not in any form of employment, education or training.

“Instead of taking a more proactive approach, the Minister is still waiting for young Kiwis to walk through the WINZ door. It’s time she fronted up to the problem and took action.

“Labour doesn’t want to see this country’s young people continue to be assigned to the unemployment scrapheap. We are committed to helping them transition into training or employment,” Jacinda Ardern said.


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