Hon Annette King: When he was reusing ‘unreliable, highly volatile, and potentially misleading’ [Paula Bennett’s words] figures yesterday, was he aware that unemployment drops around this time every year and that this year we are experiencing a smaller than usual seasonal drop of just 2.6 percent, when the average drop over the same period for the last 9 years was 5.2 percent?
And a very odd non-answer:
Hon JOHN KEY: Yes, but it is worth noting of the data yesterdayâ€”
Hon David Cunliffe: Why is Bill smiling?
Hon JOHN KEY: Why should there be no road rage on my cycleway? I think it is a good idea.
Treasury’s prediction for all of 2009 was that unemployment would rise, so despite the assertions of Annette King, that is not the advice we had from Treasury.
The government has been sprung claiming credit for a seasonal drop in unemployment.
In a panic, Paula Bennett has put out a press release presaging an increase in people on the unemployment benefit over December (which she conflates with the unemployment rate, sigh). Bennett does not have to be a fortune-teller to predict that the number of Kiwis on the dole will rise between November and January, it happens every year. Bennett describes this as a temporary anomaly from a downward trend. The reality is it is the seasonal drop that has been the blip. It is only half the average size of the normal September to November drop.
Unemployment is still rising when you account for seasonal variation and it will continue to rise well into next year There are over 250,000 jobless Kiwis and another 125,000 who can’t get enough work. Soon, there will be over 400,000 jobless and underemployed.
National doesn’t want to acknowledge those facts. They just want to preen and crow over imaginary achievements while thousands of Kiwis lose their jobs.