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Unemployment rise demands Budget response

The rise in unemployment shows the Budget must contain concrete plans for job growth that deliver for all New Zealanders, not just the few at the top, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.

“After eight years under National it is extraordinary that 144,000 New Zealanders are unemployed – almost 40,000 more than when they came to power. The Government has run out of excuses. It should be delivering by now.

“Today’s figures show unemployment rates growing in all but two regions of New Zealand. In Northland and Gisborne the unemployment rate is back over 8%. The Budget needs to deliver a boost to the regions through investment in infrastructure and support the growth of high value jobs.

“With the labour force growing by 1.5% and unemployment increasing, it’s clear that the labour market is not keeping up with population growth.

“We need a Government that focuses on ensuring that most New Zealanders can get a share of the prosperity. The Government’s focus seems to be protecting the interests of the fortunate few at the top like global mega-wealthy who can park their money in secret trusts, tax-dodging multinationals and property speculators.

“There are clear areas the Budget needs to deliver on. National must take urgent action to diversify the economy by encouraging new and emerging businesses to grow and export, bring forward more infrastructure projects and take effective action to rein in the housing market.

“New Zealanders need a government that is an active partner in growing the economy and preparing for the future, not the bunch of distracted bystanders we currently have,” says Grant Robertson.