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Increase in beneficiaries no cause for celebration

Jacinda Ardern
Employment Spokesperson

7 September 2011

Increase in beneficiaries no cause for celebration

Short-term jobs created by the Rugby World Cup and the upcoming election are masking the true crisis in our job market, Labour’s Employment spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.

“Social Development Minister Paula Bennett is trumpeting the fact that the number of people on the unemployment benefit has dropped over the last month.

Given the number of Kiwis claiming other benefits has gone up and the majority of jobs being filled are for just three weeks – the duration of the RWC - it’s hardly cause for celebration.

“The scale of this issue is overwhelming. It’s not something to play with. When National took office there were 8786 young people on the unemployment benefit. There’s now double that number.

“Plus what the Government - the same Government that has axed close to 250 jobs at DoC and the IRD this week - also fails to comprehend is the thousands of people in part-time or temporary work who want full-time work. They’re not classified as unemployed but they are definitely competing with the unemployed for jobs.

“Not all young people who can’t find work, or who aren’t at school or in other education or training are receiving a benefit. It’s these kids we should be really concerned about, alongside the 56,000 kiwis still on the dole.

“Rather than be satisfied with providing young people with short term jobs that mask our dire youth unemployment figures, Labour is committed to providing young New Zealanders on the unemployment benefit with opportunities to develop the skills and qualifications that employers are looking for.”

“Our youth skills and employment package includes $87m for getting 9,000 unemployed young New Zealanders off the unemployment benefit and into apprenticeships by transferring the dole payment to an employer.”

“This will ensure that young people who come off the unemployment benefit will have the necessary skills and training to be able to enter full-time, on-going employment – not just short term contracts provided by one – off events,” Jacinda Ardern said.

ENDS

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