National must start investing in job creation rather than following the extremist job slashing policies of their coalition partner ACT, Green Party Co-Leader Metiria Turei said today.
Figures out today show that the number of people unemployed is at the highest level in 15 years. As unemployment reaches peaks not seen since the 1990s, newspaper reports state that ACT Party Leader and Minister outside Cabinet Rodney Hide claims to have been personally responsible for getting rid of hundreds of public service jobs.
"As unemployment sky-rockets we have a Minister boasting that he has personally cost hundreds of New Zealanders their jobs," said Mrs Turei.
"Thousands of New Zealander’s employment prospects are being damaged as the Government allows its minority coalition partner to set the economic agenda.
"If the Government really cares about unemployment, it should fire Mr Hide and borrow some of our Green New Deal policies which focus on creating rather than destroying jobs.
"A good place to start would be putting money into building more state houses which would both dampen the rising housing bubble and keep skilled trades-people in work."
Mrs Turei also said that as New Zealanders lose their jobs because of extreme right-wing economic policies pushed by ACT, those regarded by the state as unable to work are being readied to drown in an ever deepening labour pool.
Over the weekend Finance Minister Bill English suggested those receiving an invalid’s benefit could be out working. The invalids benefit is paid, to among others terminal cancer patients, multiple amputees, and the blind.
Bill English’s announcement regarding work testing those on the invalid’s benefit came just days after former ACT candidate Lindsay Mitchell pointed out National had failed to implement many of its pre-election welfare policies.
"The aim of this heartless extreme economic policy is to expand the labour market and drive down the wages of all workers," said Mrs Turei.
"The resurgent new right assault on the public sector has already created an ever expanding pool of unemployment.
"High unemployment in New Zealand historically falls disproportionately on young workers, Maori and Pacific islanders.
"Unemployment doesn’t just affect the economy right now, its affects will be felt throughout New Zealand society for years."