8 May 2009

Job summit failed to protect jobs, says Labour

8:33 pm on 8 May 2009

The Labour Party says the latest unemployment figures show the Government's jobs summit failed to save jobs.

Unemployment has reached 5% for the first time in six years and the Government expects the number of people on the unemployment benefit to double by early next year to 80,000.

The latest Household Labour Force Survey shows 115,000 people as out of work but still actively looking at the end of March - up 7000 since the end of December.

During the first three months of this year, 24,000 people lost their jobs. Part-time jobs fell by 16,000 and fulltime employment was also down.

Labour's finance spokesperson David Cunliffe says the Government simply does not have a plan to protect jobs.

He says the only initiatives to come from the jobs summit were a cycleway, a bank stimulus plan which has been scrapped and the nine-day fortnight scheme.

While the nine-day fortnight has saved about 100 jobs, Mr Cunliffe says thousands of people are facing unemployment.

Meanwhile, Work and Income is taking on 100 new staff to cope with the sharply rising number of people going on the unemployment benefit.

The Ministry of Social Development has confirmed to Radio New Zealand that it has already re-deployed 60 staff to frontline offices of the agency.