“With close to 100,000 people on jobseeker benefits and businesses begging for more workers, low unemployment numbers cannot mask the labour crisis facing New Zealand businesses,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Today’s unemployment figure of 3.4 per cent becomes a moot point when there are so many jobs that need to be filled. The problem is that too many people are being incentivised to remain on welfare, and New Zealand’s immigration settings are so difficult that there aren’t enough people for the economy to function.

“Every main street in New Zealand is filled with ‘help wanted’ signs. Business owners aren’t cheering that unemployment figures are low. They’re desperately trying to figure out where they’re going to find the workers they need.

“I speak to employer after employer who’s interviewed people that just wanted a signature on their form saying they’d tried, so they can go back on a benefit.

“While Labour will crow about unemployment figures, the reality is that 11.3 per cent of working age New Zealanders are now on welfare. It was 9.7 per cent pre-Covid. Somehow Labour has managed to increase welfare rolls during a labour crisis.

“The Government needs to see past the current unemployment figures and worry about the fixing the labour crisis by getting work-ready beneficiaries back into work and bringing more workers into the country.

“ACT would remove the work to residence divide on the Green List and simplify the Accredited Employer Work Visa scheme by abolishing labour market tests, wage rules, and make it easier for migrants to move between accredited employers. This is a short-term way of bringing more people into the country and providing some relief to businesses.

“Changes to immigration are just the start. If the Government can’t turn around many other issues then less people will move here. People need to be able to feel safe on the streets, have reliable access to healthcare, provide a good education for their kids, and find a warm home to live in for New Zealand to be an attractive destination.

“Long-term a Government of real change is needed to turn the decline around and make our country the preferred destination for ideas, talent and investment. ACT has laid out how we would do this in our Alternative Budget for Real Change.”

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David Seymour