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Benefit numbers no cause for back patting

Jacinda Ardern
Employment Spokesperson

8 November 2011

Benefit numbers no cause for back patting

With no let-up in the number of Kiwis on benefits, it’s time Paula Bennett and John Key acknowledged that they have failed to do deliver New Zealanders their promise of a brighter future, Labour’s Employment spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.

“Given statistics out today show that while 791 people went off the unemployment benefit, an additional 688 people went on either the DPB or sickness benefit, neither Ms Bennett or Mr Key should be congratulating themselves just yet.

“It’s time National recognised that in order to see a true improvement in the number of people coming off benefits they have to start doing things differently,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“Paula Bennett might have attempted to shame beneficiaries by suggesting that those without employment simply aren’t looking when she said ‘it's not easy, but you won't find a job unless you're looking’, but It’s becoming increasing obvious that such platitudes aren’t going to cut it for the thousands of unemployed people across the country.

“Across the spectrum there are almost 62,000 more people receiving a main benefit now than when John Key and his National Government took over.

“We keep hearing about the 170,000 jobs National will create. The question we should all be asking is: ‘Where are these jobs the Government continually touts as its plan to solve New Zealand’s burgeoning unemployment levels?’

“The Rugby World Cup hasn’t delivered long-term jobs. Fletcher Construction, one of the country’s biggest building companies, is now laying off staff, and the Master Builders’ Federation is warning we risk losing even more skilled workers to Australia if we don’t start creating employment opportunities now.

“Just this morning, during a radio interview, the Prime Minister acknowledged that low income Kiwis have had a difficult three years under a National government. He talked extensively about getting people off welfare and into work.

“Labour is committed to doing everything it can to get people into work, or training. It has a comprehensive plan to up-skill Kiwi workers and grow both jobs and our economy,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“New Zealanders have had enough talk, Mr Key. They want to see some action, and they want to see it now,” Jacinda Ardern said.

ENDS

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