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The growing exodus of New Zealanders for Australia is the result of National's failure to act to protect and create jobs, Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman said today.
Latest Statistics New Zealand figures show that a record 53,904 people permanently left New Zealand for Australia in the past year, and 166,373 have left since National came to power less than four years ago.
"New Zealanders are leaving for Australia in record numbers because the National Government is failing to offer the opportunities they need to stay here," said Dr Norman.
"In 2008, John Key stood in the 36,000 seat Westpac stadium to symbolise to the number of people leaving for Australia, and promised to end the exodus.
"Four years later, he has failed completely.
"One and a half Westpac stadiums could now be filled by the number of people leaving for Australia each year.
"The total number who have left since the Key government came to power now stands at over 166,000. That's more than the entire populations of Northland or Hawkes Bay.
"Kiwis are leaving this country because there aren't enough jobs and the jobs there are pay too poorly.
"In manufacturing alone, 40,000 jobs have been lost under this government.
"It is past time that the National Government acted. There are a range of measures that other governments are taking to protect and grow their industries and give jobs to their people.
"The most obvious move the National Government should be taking is introducing a modern monetary policy that gets the exchange rate down to a sustainable level, so that our exporters and manufacturers can compete on a fair playing field.
"The rest of the world is using modern policy tools to protect jobs for their workers while our government refuses to do anything. The result is that over 1,000 Kiwis a week are leaving this country looking for a brighter future in Australia, which National is failing to provide in New Zealand," said Dr Norman.