18 Feb 2011

English talks up success of stimulus package

6:33 am on 18 February 2011

The Finance Minister is defending the Government's economic record, saying its stimulus spending package on infrastructure means unemployment is not as bad as it could have been.

When the National Party took power in late 2008 unemployment was just over 4.5%.

A year later that rose to 7.3% and as of December 2010 the figure dropped to 6.8%.

Bill English says the $500 million that was brought forward to spend on roads, schools and state housing has helped keep unemployment lower than it would have been.

However the Labour Party says that is of little comfort to the 158,000 New Zealanders still out of work.

Mr English has also defended National's youth job creation schemes but acknowledges they need to be monitored closely.