26 Oct 2008

Key confident National can fund relief for recession jobless

2:43 pm on 26 October 2008

National Party leader John Key is confident of being able to fund a promise to help out people hit by the credit crisis.

While campaigning in Canterbury, at the Rangiora A & P Show, on Saturday 25 October, Mr Key signalled his party's intention to offer short-term relief to people who lose their jobs due to the recession.

Mr Key has declined to flesh out the initiatives.

But he told the Agenda programme on TV One on Sunday 26 October National would help people with liabilities and commitments who lost their jobs - but were confident of getting back into employment.

Mr Key was asked about the cost of such moves.

"We are confident we can fund it. We're confident we have a sense at least of the numbers but it's going to be very important, I think, to put some confidence into those New Zealanders."

Financial obligations

Speaking on Saturday, Mr Key said National was being briefed by the Government on the ongoing consideration of the banking deposit guarantee scheme.

Mr Key says National wants to ensure there is liquidity in the money markets, and is looking at how to provide short-term relief to people who lose their jobs due to the recession.

He says National would want to help people meet their financial obligations, whether it be mortgage, rent or other bills.

He would not be more specific, about for example whether that would take the form of a grant or an interest-free loan, saying the detailed plan will be released in due course.

"For those who might be tossed out of the labour markets at the moment as we go through this economic turmoil, National have more to say in the next week or two about how it is we want to provide support to New Zealanders that might lose their job on a temporary basis, because they have commitments and liabilities that they'll need to continue to meet."

'No credibility' - Clark

Labour's leader Helen Clark says the National Party has no credibility when it comes to trying to help people in a depression.

She says when unemployment went through the roof in the early 1990s, National cut benefits, put up state house rentals, and charged people to go to hospital.