Rising unemployment and stagnant wages show that many New Zealanders are missing out on the benefits of economic growth, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.
“Today's unemployment figures show that 15,000 more people are out of work than there were a year ago. Long-term unemployment (ie. 6 months of more) now stands at 43,700 – up 8,000 from this time last year. The number of people who can’t get enough hours of work despite being available rose by 10,000 last year.
“The economy is not delivering for many New Zealanders, whatever spin that the National Party wants to put in it.
“Many New Zealanders are working harder and harder, but are not seeing the benefits of that. Average hourly earnings actually fell in the December quarter due to falls in both standard and overtime rates in the private sector.
“The Labour Cost Index shows that wages are barely keeping up with the cost of living.
“The point of economic growth is to deliver a better standard of living to New Zealanders. Under National, that isn’t happening.
“Labour will invest in decent work with higher wages.
“We will do this through practical supporting the regions such as the Centre of Digital Excellence announced by Andrew Little today. We will also invest in skills, training, research and innovation to create new work.
“National has no plan for the economy, no long-term vision, and is increasingly out-of-touch with the realities being faced by New Zealand workers. It’s time to change the Government," says Grant Robertson.