New Zealand Labour Party

Young New Zealanders being left behind

The latest Household Labour Force figures reinforce the case to better prepare our young people for the future, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.


“Worryingly, the number of young people who are Not in Employment, Education, or Training (NEET) increased by 3,000 from the last quarter to 74,000.

“This is a tragic waste of talent and opportunity, and despite National calling them ‘pretty damn hopeless’ Labour recognises that we need to do much more to help ensure that our young people get the best possible opportunities.

“At this weekend’s Labour Party Conference, we will be setting out our vision for the future which involves investing in our young people and creating a fairer society.

“Today’s figures show that while the economy has grown, this is not being translated into growing wages or employment opportunities for our young people. Despite the improvement in numbers since the last survey, unemployment is still far higher than in 2008, with 27,000 more people unemployed than when Labour left office.

“Despite a growing economy, unemployment barely moved – and it actually increased by 6,000 in Auckland and 2,400 in Canterbury.

“With house prices rising 13 per cent annually, average rents increasing by $780 this year, and more young people being left behind, small movements in unemployment will be cold comfort to Kiwi families struggling to pay the bills. It’s time for a fresh economic plan that creates decent work and higher wages built on investing in our people and regions. Only a Labour government can deliver that.

“The real measure of success for the economy is whether it is delivering higher living standards and more opportunity for New Zealanders. What really matters to New Zealanders is the quality of life they can build for themselves and their families. Labour’s focus is on supporting a fair share in prosperity for more New Zealanders, sadly the National Party is more focused on the few at the top,” says Andrew Little.