5 Nov 2015

No job? Move to the regions, urges govt

9:46 am on 5 November 2015

Unemployed people are being urged to look to the regions for work by the government, after the unemployment rate broke the 6 percent mark yesterday.

National MP, Steven Joyce.

Steven Joyce suggests unemployed people could look to the South Island for work. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

The rate is now at its highest point in two years and economists have predicted that it is likely to rise further.

But Steven Joyce, Minister of Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment told Morning Report it was a "multi-regional story", with lot of shifts around the country.

He said that in some regions such as Otago and Northland, there were shortages of people applying for jobs, and unemployed people should consider moving if they could.

"I can't shift people from region to region but I would certainly encourage people - if they are able to - to look a bit more around the country in terms of options. The South Island in particular struggles to get people down from the North Island. They've stopped the northward drift that was happening there for many years, but you talk to most parts of the South Island and they are still looking for what we would call medium or higher skilled people to come into the region and set themselves up there. So that is something people should definitely consider."

Finance Minister Bill English said jobseekers needed to keep searching for the right job.

"Keep trying, because they have to keep working until they find the right type of job. We're in a economy that has had a number of years of producing new jobs and new opportunities. That hasn't happened in the last three or four months, but we see it picking up again."

While Northland still has the country's highest unemployment rate at 8.2 percent, its jobless rate fell from a 9.9 percent high in the March quarter and 8.6 percent in June.

Whangarei mayor Sheryl Mai says the small drop in the rate was still an important step.

Ms Mai said there was a ripple effect from Aucklanders looking north, instead of looking south.

She told Morning Report she was hopeful the region's unemployment rate could be less than those of other regions within a year.

"There are new jobs and in the sectors that are seeing growth like the primary sector and the visitor industry, education. It just seems like across the spectrum in Northland we are seeing growth."

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