Unemployment rises. In work numbers fall. National fiddles.

Unemployment has risen for four quarters in a row to hit 6 per cent, meaning New Zealand is bucking the trend of other countries where joblessness has been falling, Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says.

“Today’s figures are a damning indictment of National. For the first time since 2012 the number of people in work has fallen – by 11,000.

“In the UK and USA, unemployment is falling. A rate of 6 per cent puts New Zealand close to Australia – an economy supposedly close to crisis.

“National’s management of the economy isn’t delivering for New Zealanders.

“Even when the economy peaked above 3 per cent, unemployment barely fell below 6 per cent. When growth was 3 per cent under the last Labour Government, unemployment was almost half what it is now. There’s something deeply wrong with National’s economic management.

“National will claim unemployment has increased because of record migration. That’s no excuse. As Statistics NZ says today the economy is no longer keeping up with population growth. If the economy can’t keep pace with people coming in, everyone misses out.

“National clearly isn’t creating the jobs and opportunities New Zealanders need. This doesn’t just affect those that are out of work, it hurts people looking for new work and career advancement.

“In the last few years growth was fuelled by dairy prices, the Christchurch rebuild, Auckland’s housing bubble and record migration. Now only migration is left and the economy is on the slide.

“When growth was high National should have looked for opportunities to diversify the economy and direct investment into productive sectors. They have failed to do that. Now the economy is going downhill National needs to look to increase the pace of infrastructure developments to spark it back into life. They will fail to do that too.

“The 151,000 people out of work are a symbol of seven long years of wasted opportunities,” Grant Robertson said.