14 Feb 2013

PM says job losses reflect flexible labour market

10:51 pm on 14 February 2013

Prime Minister John Key says it is regrettable that some New Zealand Post workers are losing their jobs, but it reflects the country's flexible labour market.

The company announced on Thursday it is axing 100 workers in Wellington and Auckland, saying the job losses are the result of an upgrade of its printing systems and were necessary to stay competitive.

It says there will be 70 layoffs at its bulk business operation Datamail at Petone, near Wellington, and 30 in Auckland. However, 30 new jobs will be created at its Christchurch plant.

The move follows an announcement by Contact Energy on Wednesday that it is planning to cut more than 100 jobs in the face of flat demand for electricity.

The Labour Party says the losses are proof that the Government's economic policies are not working. Finance spokesperson David Parker says it is no wonder 33,000 people gave up looking for work in the last three months of 2012, and that so many are moving to Australia.

Mr Parker says the Government has no plan to encourage the creation of jobs and the only area growing in New Zealand is earthquake-hit Canterbury.

But John Key says in any given three-month period, about 100,000 jobs are lost and more than 100,000 jobs are created.

"It's really important as a country that we just don't simply get highlighted the times when people lose jobs and therefore put ourselves in a very negative state of mind when at exactly the same time economy lots of other jobs are being created."

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce says it is always a concern for people who lose their jobs, but more lay-offs reflect the changing state of international and domestic economies.

"We're getting lower levels of growth than we have historically, and that's because of the global financial crisis. We are seeing growth in some areas, but we're seeing job losses in other areas as well.

"So it's not easy, it's still challenging but actually anybody who suggests they could wave a magic wand and make it disappear is, frankly, just having you on."