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What’s Bill been smoking?

Bill English’s diversionary tactic of condemning of a generation of Kiwi workers as a bunch of drug-takers cannot hide his government’s failure to create opportunities for decent work, says Labour’s Employment spokesperson Grant Robertson.

“In his pathetic defence of his Government’s failing immigration policy, the Prime Minister has managed to condemn a generation of Kiwi workers as druggies. Previously, Bill English has called young workers lazy and hopeless.

“Making it worse, Bill English has admitted his sweeping generalisations are based on anecdotes rather than any evidence or hard facts.

“New Zealanders might get the impression that Bill English is the one on mind altering drugs, given the facts about how National has let down workers and young people over the last eight years.

“There are 140,000 people unemployed in New Zealand, up 37,000 since National took office. There are 90,000 15-24 year olds not in employment, education or training up 27,000 since National took office. Long term unemployed (more than six months) has nearly tripled to 44,000.

“Kiwis are earning less under National. Average ordinary time wages fell in the last quarter, 45 per cent of Kiwis did not get a pay rise last year and, of those that did, 67 per cent got a pay-rise of less than two per cent.

“National has no plan to provide opportunities in our regions. Unemployment rose in the last quarter in Otago, Wellington, Manawatu-Wanganui, Taranaki, Gisborne-Hawkes Bay, Waikato, and Tasman-Nelson-Marlborough-West Coast.

“Labour has a plan. What Labour will also do is help young people into training with our three years free policy, and provide better work opportunities throughout New Zealand.

“Our $200 million regional economic development fund will deliver opportunities for decent work right around New Zealand. We have already announced plans for Dunedin’s IT gaming industry and Gisborne’s timber processing industry under a Labour-led Government, and there will be more to come,” says Grant Robertson.