Matthew Hooton is spinning like mad to talk up the economy. Unfortunately his spin sometimes bends the truth beyond breaking point, and there were three examples of that yesterday. On RNZ Hooton claimed that NZ had the lowest (or one of the lowest) youth unemployment rates in the OECD, and that the fire at will (90 day probation) law had been responsible for a significant fall in youth unemployment (my links are to secondary sources, if anyone knows where the original audio is please link in comments).
Wrong and wrong. Our youth unemployment rates compared to the OECD is summarised in this ILO report (PDF) showing 2012 data (2013 data is not yet complete):
We’re not the lowest, or even one of the lowest, we’re very much in the middle. And as to a “significant drop” following fire at will, the following is a graph of the youth unemployment rate in NZ over the last 13 years (data from page 87 of the same report):
The 90 day fire at will legislation was in place for workplaces under 20 employees soon after the 2008 election – and youth unemployment rose. It was extended to all workplaces effective April 1st 2011. There is a fall from 2011 (17.5%) to 2012 (16.4%) but (a) it isn’t a “significant” fall and (b) there is no way to prove cause and effect for fire at will – the recovery boom in Christchurch is probably a stronger effect.
It is probably safest to assume that anything that Matthew Hooton says is nonsense unless proven otherwise.