Labour’s failure to prepare for Delta has cost Kiwis their jobs

The latest Jobseeker figures released today demonstrate the true impact of the Delta outbreak on employment, National’s Social Development and Employment spokesperson Louise Upston says.

“More than 7000 New Zealanders have moved onto the Jobseeker benefit since the Delta outbreak. That means almost 195,000 New Zealanders are without a job and dependent on Government to make ends meet.

“Finance Minister Grant Robertson complacently said the latest lockdown would have minimal impact on unemployment as the wage subsidy would protect jobs.

“However today’s data, which does not account for the most recent week, shows the wage subsidy is not bullet proof protection for all jobs.

“We know people move onto Jobseeker quicker than they move off even after lockdown restrictions are removed. Under Labour, people have spent longer on Jobseeker and the Government need to ensure job opportunities exist to reverse this trend.

“The Government’s unpreparedness for Delta and failure to deliver a timely vaccine roll out means thousands more New Zealanders are now doing it tough.

“The lockdown has hit many who were still recovering from 2020 lockdowns.

“Demand for food hardship grants almost doubled during the first fortnight of lockdown and community organisations report even greater demand for essentials compared to the 2020 lockdown.

“The impact on jobs and hardship will be especially harsh for Aucklanders where Alert Level 4 restrictions remain in place.

“Bafflingly though, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni admitted the Government was unprepared for this lockdown earlier this week.

“The Government’s lack of basic preparedness means more New Zealanders are without work and facing hardship. If it had ramped up our vaccine rollout earlier then way may not have had to go into a lockdown and many Kiwis wouldn’t be in the difficult position they now find themselves.”