16 Nov 2008

Unemployment could be higher than predicted - English

3:48 pm on 16 November 2008

The incoming finance minister Bill English says unemployment could exceed current Treasury predictions.

The latest figures, released by the Labour Party on Thursday, suggested a rise to nearly 6%.

Mr English was asked on TVNZ's Agenda programme on Sunday morning whether unemployment could go higher, for example, to 7%.

"It's possible. Unfortunately the forecasts for unemployment keep rising," he said.

"Up to now New Zealanders have enjoyed a fairly good sense of job security. That is going to be eroded and that's why, during the (election) campaign, we announced an assistance package for people who qualify for unemployment benefit."

Mr English says the outgoing government's tax cuts, and National's second round from April will provide an economic stimulus that is large by international standards.