Government cannot stand on side line as job losses grow

John Key’s Government is refusing to act as growing numbers of New Zealanders lose their jobs to automation and industry disruption with little hope of new work in the future, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says.

“In the past month we have had 500 NZ Post layoffs confirmed, 180 jobs at Fisher and Paykel lost and two other manufacturers laying off more than 65 workers in regional towns.

“This is a snapshot of the future and I have no doubt we will see more mass layoffs in coming weeks. Yet in all these cases the Government has offered no help other than directions to the benefit office.

“For the past year Labour has been saying that the future of work requires a Government willing to work with industry groups and their employees on pathways to new jobs and retraining before layoffs occur.

“They must be an active participant as work dries up in one area and skills are required in others. That’s why Labour’s three free years of training across a worker’s lifetime is so crucial.

“Kiwis deserve a Government that is on their side, fighting for their livelihoods and working with them and employers to create a future with secure incomes and a chance at the Kiwi dream.

 “Standing on the side lines is John Key’s specialty, cheering on the good times but offering nothing when circumstances change.

"A responsible Government would right now be working with industries facing enormous change as technology overtakes their work. We should be asking why our Government isn’t,” Andrew Little says.