Last week Stats NZ announced unemployment had dropped to a record low of just 3.5%, after reaching double-digit figures under National in the 90s.
That reminded me of an old press release from Bill English just before the 1999 election where he called unemployment in the range of 3% “a hoax” and suggested 6% might be a more realistic target:
“Labour’s policies will increases taxes, give unions more power in the workplace, make it harder for employers to give young people a chance at a job, and impose extra costs on business. These policies will not help create one job.
“It is business which creates jobs, not the Government. The Government’s job is to create the right conditions for growth. We must support business with lower costs and flexible labour market policies, and do our bit by keeping Government spending down.
“The recent pre-election opening of the books showed that if we continue with National’s policies over the next three years we will be able to create another 115,000 jobs and bring unemployment under 6%. These are realistic targets.
“Labour’s claim that it can bring the unemployment rate down to 3% is also a hoax on all the people who think if they voted Labour they would get a job.
Sound familiar? National hasn’t changed its policies or its rhetoric one bit from the 1990s. There are no fresh ideas here, just a return to the economic policies of low wages and double-digit unemployment. The hoax was always National’s and it’s being played out on ordinary working families. The question is, are we gullible enough to let them do it again?