7 Sep 2012

Government defends job creation record

9:49 am on 7 September 2012

Finance Minister Bill English says the Government has created 54,000 new jobs and expects that rate of job creation to continue.

A series of announcements over the past week have flagged potentially hundreds of job losses and Opposition parties say the Government has overseen more job destruction than job creation in its four years in office.

New Zealand First says unemployment levels have skyrocketed over the past four years and are far higher than the Government cares to admit.

Labour says since National took office in 2008, more New Zealanders have been forced to join the dole queues because the Government isn't doing enough to stimulate the economy.

But Mr English told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme lay-offs are part of a pattern called grumpy growth where some companies prosper but others don't.

Mr English said detractors are also campaigning against other initiatives the Government is undertaking to stimulate the economy, such as more oil and gas exploration, coal mining and changing the Resource Management Act.

"I think most of the public of New Zealand want to see us do whatever we can so a business can invest a bit more money, employ another person and pay a higher wage, because in the end that is growth."

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce has said no one could have foreseen how massive the global financial crisis would be, nor the Canterbury earthquakes.

Council of Trade Unions economist Bill Rosenberg says the Government is actually contributing to the number of jobless in a number of ways, including laying off staff in the public sector

He says it shouldn't ignore the issue of unemployment, and must look at creating more jobs for people.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is forecasting the unemployment rate to fall from 6.8% in the June 2012 quarter to 6.2% in March next year and 5.9% in 2014.