Low unemployment hiding benefit dependency

New Zealand’s low unemployment rate is masking the explosion in benefit dependency overseen by Labour, National’s Social Development & Employment Spokesperson Louise Upston says.

“Under Labour, 55 per cent more people are on the Jobseeker benefit longer than one year.

“Low unemployment is only positive if more people have jobs and fewer people depend on benefits. But that’s not what we’re seeing under this Government.

“The Prime Minister said last week ‘it does matter to us as a Labour Government that we have people in the dignity of work’.

“Why then, has her Government allowed 50,000 more New Zealanders to become dependent on the Jobseeker benefit under their watch, particularly at a time when employers across the country are desperately crying out for workers?

"Labour is squandering a golden opportunity to connect people on a benefit with job vacancies, and is instead creating a social and economic crisis down the road.

“Everyone deserves the dignity, independence, choices and opportunities that a job provides.

“But clearly Labour’s approach to welfare is failing Kiwis. The Government needs to be doing far more to help people stuck on the Jobseeker benefit to overcome barriers to getting into paid work.

“If this Government can’t help people off benefits and into work now, then when on earth will they ever be able to?”