Jobseeker numbers at record high pre-lockdown
The benefit statistics released today by the Ministry of Social Development show that today’s numbers of Kiwis on the dole was higher than the peak of the Global Financial Crisis just two days into lockdown, National’s Spokesperson for Social Development Louise Upston says.
“At the end of March and the beginning of the lockdown there were almost 152,000 New Zealanders on Jobseeker Support, this is more than the 151,000 that was seen at the peak of the GFC.
“The Government claims the economy was in good shape heading into the Covid-19 crisis, but in reality New Zealand began the lockdown with record numbers of jobseekers and record levels of hardship. This number will only grow and since the lockdown started jobseeker numbers have risen almost 8000 a week and the Governments ‘best case scenario’ case shows more than 13 per cent unemployment as a result of Covid-19.
We know unemployment leads to poorer mental health and higher mortality rates so this is not just an economic crisis but the next health crisis. Any government that cares about wellbeing needs to do all they can to protect jobs and support people off benefit and into employment.
“Even during the better economic times the Government struggled to get people off the benefit and into work, with MSD staff having to spend almost half their time dealing with unprecedented levels of financial hardship among New Zealanders.
“New Zealanders need to know the Government has a plan to get Kiwis back to work after the Covid-19 crisis ends, this is something we are yet to see.”