Greens slate Key over jobs

KATE CHAPMAN AND ANDREA VANCE
Last updated 08:19 30/01/2013
Prime Minister John Key
Prime Minister John Key.
Russel Norman
RUSSEL NORMAN: The Greens' co-leader.

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The Government is failing and long-term unemployment is "out of control", the Greens say.

Green Party co-leader Russel Norman said yesterday that claims employment was improving did not match statistics which showed long-term jobless figures had quadrupled.

Prime Minister John Key, in his statement to Parliament yesterday, said New Zealand's employment rate was high compared to other countries.

"There are still too many people looking for work who can't find it. But forecasts show employment continuing to increase and unemployment falling, as the economy picks up," he said.

However, Norman said Key was either out of touch or telling lies.

"In complete contradiction to what the prime minister says, the statistics show that long-term unemployment is out of control under this Government because it's actually quadrupled," Norman said.

The Household Labour Force survey showed long-term unemployment (more than six months) had increased from 14,000 people to 55,000 under National, he said.

Long-term unemployment was particularly dangerous because people got out of touch with the workplace.

Norman said most other OECD countries were better off than New Zealand, largely because of a more interventionist approach by governments.

"The Government is completely failing in its job," he said.

Norman said Key's statement yesterday should have focused on jobs.

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