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With unemployment at a 13-year high Social Development Minister Paula Bennett’s holier- than-thou attitude to Kiwis struggling to find work is arrogance at its worst, Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.
“Her responses to questions around her increasingly punitive approach to social security at a time when the number of people looking for work has reached the highest level this century were just plain nasty.
“To read out a list of supposed job vacancies – thus implying work is freely available if people are looking for it – is a pretty low blow.
“Ms Bennett’s assertion that there are jobs out there for the 175,000 people that we know are actively looking for work ignores the fact that on her watch unemployment benefit rates have doubled and Kiwis are lining up in their hundreds for a small number of jobs.
“The only action she’s taken to ‘help’ people being forced on to the dole queue – largely through the Government’s failure to create jobs or manage the economy - has been to almost double her use of sanctions.
“To have a Minister try and back up her misguided view that there is work for anyone who is actively looking for it by reading out job ads sets a new low.
“To have the same Minister – who is responsible for the more than 50,000 Kiwis on an unemployment benefit - imply they aren’t looking hard enough is just insulting.
“What out of work Kiwis need is a Government that is genuine about helping create jobs, not a Minister in denial,” Jacinda Ardern said.