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Labour Says Benefit Figures Show `Real' Level Of Unemployment

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Annette King
Annette King

Wellington, July 16 NZPA - An additional 52,000 people signed on for benefits in the last 12 months and more than 310,000 now rely on the Government for their income, the Labour Party says.

Social development spokeswoman Annette King said today the figures were worrying because they reflected the "real" number of people who had lost their jobs.

She said the figures showed:

* An additional 33,000 people on the unemployment benefit since this time last year;

* nearly 8000 more people on the DPB;

* nearly 2000 more people on the invalids benefit;

* over 8000 more people on the sickness benefit; and

* over 1000 more people on other benefits.

"These figures show there are significantly more unemployed than first thought," Ms King said.

"Obviously, single parents who lose their jobs end up on the DPB not the unemployment benefit, while anyone with a disability who becomes unemployed may be put on to the sickness or invalids benefit."

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said last month the number of New Zealanders receiving a benefit had risen to 302,000 and the number of people on the dole had been increasing by a net 1000 a week.

"We are seeing unemployment rising more sharply than in previous recessions," she told Parliament's social services select committee.

Ms King said the Government was in denial and had no plan for economic recovery.

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