6 Sep 2012

Labour says Govt not doing enough to create jobs

6:29 pm on 6 September 2012

The Government is facing accusations it is not doing enough to create jobs in the wake of a series of announcements of job cuts.

The latest announcements involve miners employed by Solid Energy on the West Coast and in Waikato and Rio Tinto cutting jobs at Southland's Tiwai Point aluminium smelter near Bluff.

Labour Party leader David Shearer said on Thursday the job losses are bad news - particularly for the provinces.

Mr Shearer says the Government needs to do more to support manufacturers - including getting the Reserve Bank to take account of other factors, rather than just focusing solely on inflation.

Labour says since National took office in 2008, the number of people in the labour force has grown by 74,000 while only 17,000 jobs have been created.

The number of people unemployed reached 162,000 at the end of June - a 4% increase on the previous year.

But Employment Minister Steven Joyce rejects Labour's accusations, saying the Government could not have known how bad the economy would get.

"Back in 2008 nobody understood two things - the size of the global financial crisis and, of course, nobody predicted the Christchurch earthquake. Both of those have had massive impacts on New Zealand and actually right around the world over that period of time.

"I think anybody's predictions in 2008 would have been significantly out by the time we get to 2012."

Mr Joyce says investments being made by the Government, including on the Canterbury rebuild, will help boost employment.