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While we should be cautious reading too much into quarterly employment data, today’s figures add to signs that the economic momentum the Government inherited has ended, and the economy is now slowing, National’s Finance spokesperson Amy Adams says.

“The Government should take this as a reality check. The number of unemployed New Zealanders rose by 10,000 in just three months while NEETS (people not in education, employment or training) rose by 26,000. This follows a 9,000 jump in the number on jobseeker benefits in the past 12 months.

“If this trend continues, it is a bad look for a Government that claims to be doing more to ‘get the nephs off the couch’ and suggests it is failing to deliver on key promises.

“The unemployment rate is still relatively low, however, we have now slipped from having the 9th to the 14th lowest unemployment rate in the OECD. At the same time, jobs growth has stalled and the underutilisation rate has increased.

“Under National, there was an average of 10,000 jobs being created every month. This has halved under the current Government and slowed to just 670 per month during the last quarter.

“These weaker labour market numbers follow the third quarter’s slower GDP growth and point to a change of direction for the New Zealand economy.

“The Government’s anti-growth policies include new taxes, wasteful spending, restricting foreign investment, union-friendly industrial law changes, excessive increases to the minimum wage, the prospect of a Capital Gains Tax and a return to national awards. This has undoubtedly made it more difficult for Kiwi workers and businesses to get ahead.

“The last thing we need during a time of global economic uncertainty is bad domestic policies that slow down our economy, discourage job creation, slow down wage growth and ultimately reduce the standard of living for New Zealand families.

“National favours sensible economic policies that nurture New Zealand’s economic growth, create more jobs and help lift all our communities.”

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