Spokesperson on Employment
Spokesperson for Youth Affairs
14 August 2011 MEDIA STATEMENT
Young people need jobs not welfare reform
National’s much hyped welfare announcement today has failed to address the elephant in the room of the National Party Conference --- job creation, says Labour’s spokesperson for Employment and Youth Affairs Jacinda Ardern.
“Our young people don't need welfare reform, they need jobs,” Jacinda Ardern said.
“Rather than use his key note speech today to outline his economic plan for New Zealand, John Key gave us his third attempt to address youth unemployment, and for the third time ignored the primary problem- there just aren't enough jobs out there,” Jacinda Ardern said.
“New Zealanders aged 15-24 make up 45 per cent of the total number of our unemployed population. Youth don’t have time for a third failed approach from government.
“When National came in, there were roughly 200 under 24 year olds who had been on an unemployment benefit for more than a year, that number is now eight times higher.
“New Zealand's proportion of unemployed youth is one of the highest in the OECD and worsening. Our youth unemployment rate stands alongside that of adult unemployment---an alarming concern.
“National’s suggested punitive changes to benefit structures will effect roughly 1500 16 to 17 year olds, but is being treated like a silver bullet. How will food stamps move young people into education or work?
“This is the wrong focus- it's the 58,000 young people who are not in employment, education or training that need the Government’s attention.
“Is this really National’s economic plan, and all the hope and aspiration John Key has for our young people? The 170,000 jobs promised by National need to materialise, and fast,” Jacinda Ardern said.
Paid for by Vote Parliamentary Service and Authorised by Jacinda Ardern, MP, Parliament Buildings, Wellington