Govt on wrong track with unemployment

New Zealand is rated as the 6th worst performer among OECD countries in terms of increasing unemployment since the onset of the global financial crisis, says Labour Leader David Shearer.

“New Zealand is now ranked 28th out of 34 OECD countries with the number of people unemployed rising 1.5 times faster than the OECD average since September 2008. Countries in a worse position include Greece, Spain and Ireland.

“Under questioning in Parliament today, John Key’s defence was that it’s not as bad as it looks because we started from the strong position left by the previous Labour Government with low unemployment.

“This shows John Key has simply squandered the strong position he was left in and instead of ‘taking the harsh edges off the recession’ as he promised, the National government has performed poorly compared to the rest of the world in terms of protecting jobs.

“Under this Government, there’s been an 80% increase in the number of unemployed New Zealanders – more than twice the rate of the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia.

“These aren’t just numbers. They’re people who are struggling to pay their bills, to support their families and are considering moving to Australia to find a job and better opportunities.

“John Key’s also reneged on his promise to give our young people access to decent training opportunities. In 2009, he said that was critical because otherwise we ‘risk diminishing the potential of an entire generation of New Zealanders and I won’t accept that’. Yet the number of modern apprentices has dropped by 2500 since then. Another broken promise.

“John Key is happy to accept second best and a path that leads to decline and constant struggle. I’m not. I’m proud of New Zealand and I want better for our people.

“Labour will take concrete steps to create jobs and training opportunities so that all New Zealanders can contribute to building a modern and prosperous economy,” said David Shearer.