With business confidence falling, and Government’s forecasts predicting a rise in the number of unemployed over the next
three years, unemployment is set to become a defining issue for this Government.
ACT Employment Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman said the real issue for the Government was youth unemployment which had risen
15% on the last quarter. At 18.3%, it is the highest level since 1994.
Dr Newman recently released figures showing 5,326 teenagers aged 18 to 19 have been out of work for over 1 year and 650
have been unemployed for more than two years. 1,000 young people aged 20 to 24 have been registered unemployed for over
4 years. “Getting these young people into real jobs and stopping them going straight from school to the dole has to be
the highest priority of this government”, Dr Newman said.
“Labour Department advice to the new Government said that raising the minimum wage and the youth wage would increase
unemployment. They said introducing the Employment Relations Bill would increase unemployment. They have warned that the
Paid Parental Leave Bill will cause the loss of at least 1000 jobs, yet this Government continues with a legislative
programme which they know will cost jobs.
“In the last quarter, 6,000 jobs have been lost compared with a net 17,000 that were created at the same time last year.
Given that job growth normally lags economic growth by almost a year, and that the Government has inherited a strong
economy, this is a worrying result.
“Unless the Government changes its anti-business agenda, rising unemployment and poor growth will be the norm. For the
young people of New Zealand, that spells disaster”, Dr Newman said.