Unemployment rate rises in the region
Investing in education and skills training is one way to halt increasing unemployment, now at more than 5 per cent in the Wellington region, says Mana MP Kris Faafoi.
New figures show unemployment in this region rose from 4.8 per cent to 5.4 per cent in the December quarter.
Mr Faafoi said social agencies he has visited are coping admirably, but are going ‘‘flat stick’’.
‘‘A total of 15,700 people in [ this] region are unemployed now,’’ he said.
‘‘There is genuine hardship in the community.
‘‘Too many families in Mana are finding it too hard to do the basics because one or both breadwinners can’t find work.’’
He said the National Government ‘‘has sat on the sideline’’ too long and has no discernible plan to create jobs, unlike our trans-Tasman neighbours.
‘‘We should take a lesson from Australia, which has invested heavily in education and skills training to get people into work during the global financial downturn,’’ he said.
National List MP Hekia Parata countered by saying the country was in a ‘‘slow recovery’’ and it was not uncommon for unemployment numbers to rise in the December quarter.
‘‘In the last few months we have seen an influx of 15,000 students looking for work over the summer break. In December alone, Student Job Search found work for 3800 of them.’’
Ms Parata said January figures highlighted the fact 6119 Kiwis nationwide went off the benefit and found work, including 1849 Maori, 354 Pacific Islanders and 1943 young people. This showed National had set the country on the road to stronger growth, meaning more business confidence, with wages and employment expected to grow, she said.
‘‘National has managed the country through the worst of the recession without cutting entitlements and with unemployment peaking well below initial forecasts.’’