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Say what?

Written By: - Date published: 8:40 am, January 18th, 2010 - 12 comments
Categories: labour, national/act government, Parliament, unemployment - Tags:

Statements made in Parliament last year, in chronological order:

Hon BILL ENGLISH: They have been telling us that we should copy the Australian fiscal stimulus, when Australia’s unemployment rate is close to 6%—whereas our fiscal stimulus has kept our unemployment rate down to 5%. So which one is it: copy Australia’s plan and force the unemployment rate up, or stick to our plan and keep the unemployment rate lower?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: What I can confirm is that Australian unemployment is consistently higher than New Zealand’s, and its Budget deficit forecasts are higher than recent forecasts I have seen from New Zealand. So whatever we are doing, it seems to be working better than what Australia is doing.

Hon BILL ENGLISH: I think that, with typical Kiwi understatement, we will probably use less extravagant terms than the Australians, and we will achieve better results.

Hon JOHN KEY: I do know that New Zealand’s unemployment rate is 5%, and we can contrast that with the rate in Australia, which is 5.7%… I do know that on this side of the House we care about jobs.

Hon PAULA BENNETT: Compared with similar countries our employment figures are holding up quite well. On the official household labour force survey our unemployment level is at 5%, while that of Australia is at 5.4%

Hon JOHN KEY: New Zealand has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the OECD, despite all countries experiencing the same global recession. The unemployment rate in New Zealand is currently 5%; in comparison, in Australia it is 5.7%. This shows that we are doing a good job in New Zealand of holding down the growth in unemployment, despite this being the worst recession since 1930.

Hon BILL ENGLISH (Minister of Finance): For most people, the measure of a recession is whether they have a job as much as it is a measure of changes in GDP. New Zealand’s unemployment rate compares very favourably with Australia at 5.7%.

Hon BILL ENGLISH (Minister of Finance):  ..in New Zealand it is 5%, which is why it is intriguing that the Opposition finance spokesman should be telling us to copy Australia, whose unemployment is higher than ours at 5.7%.

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: I say to Mr Hughes that we can compare our unemployment rate with Australia’s

Hon Annette King: Does he stand by his statement that the Government’s policies are taking the sharp edges off the recession, when the figures released today from the household labour force survey show that unemployment is now 6%, which is higher than Australia’s unemployment rate; that it is the biggest quarterly jump in 21 years, up by 20.6%; that it is the highest unemployment rate in 10 years; and that the number of long-term unemployed has more than doubled, and does that not show that rather than taking the sharp edge off the recession, this Government’s inaction is slicing through families through its lack of policies around unemployment?

MOANA MACKEY (Labour): It is deeply concerning to the Opposition that the Government seems to be so economically illiterate. Members of the Government seem to have genuinely convinced themselves that somehow they are responsible for the fact that our unemployment is not as high as in the UK or in the USA. They stopped talking about Australia, because for the first time in 20 years Australia’s unemployment is lower than New Zealand’s unemployment, on their watch. So they do not talk about Australia any more. But they genuinely seem to think it was all their own work, despite the fact that they inherited from the previous Labour Government one of the lowest unemployment rates in the OECD.

You can see that when the ministers were making their statements, unemployment here was already higher than in Australia. The data comes out here slower than it does in Aussie (which updates its stats monthly, not quarterly). The ministers were taking an information deficit and congratulating themselves on success.

12 comments on “Say what? ”

  1. ghostwhowalksnz 1

    Can Farrar stick that in his pipe and smoke it !

  2. roger nome 2

    To be meaningful, unemployment stats have to be viewed along side employment rate, and full-time employment rate stats. unemployment doesn’t tell you anything about underemployment, nor the percentage of the adult population that has been discouraged from participation in the labour force due to low wages.

    the truth is, NZ has a large number of people who can be called ” the working poor”. this is due to our high percentage of part-time workers in the labour force, who don’t get enough hours, and get paid low wages. this is no success.

    in other words, the whole unemployment debate, as framed in the msm, lacks any meaningful context, and is therefore moot.

  3. roger nome 3


    Yeah i get you.

    i think it’s playing into the right’s hands by only talking about unemployment however. a disempowered, casualised, low paid labour force, suits them down to the ground. it’s time that we started talking about decent jobs and decent pay, rather than compete with the right to see who can create the most “McJobs”. The left needs to grow a pair and re-frame the debate, not let the right dictate what it means to be a “succesful society”.

    it’s not unitil the left changes the semantics that inform people’s views, that we’ll start to see the kind of society that we want.

    IMO Labour is still suffering from the shock and awe approach of the 1990s. time to prune the dead wood.

    Still, the above post was succesful in showing that National was full of it when claiming that a fiscal stimulous package wouldn’t help with unemployment. It’s good to remind people of what dishonest jackasses they are.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1

      a disempowered, casualised, low paid labour force, suits them down to the ground.

      Dictators like having a lot of people that they can push around and National are a bunch of dictators.

      it’s time that we started talking about decent jobs and decent pay, rather than compete with the right to see who can create the most “McJobs’.

      Our productivity far exceeds what’s needed to keep all of us well off and, most likely, on less than 40 hours per week. The only reason we average over that is to keep the people in the top 1% income earners in the top 1%. They’re the biggest bludgers.

      IMO Labour is still suffering from the shock and awe approach of the 1990s.

      I think they’re still suffering from the shock and awe of the 1980s perpetrated by themselves.

      Still, the above post was succesful in showing that National was full of it when claiming that a fiscal stimulous package wouldn’t help with unemployment. It’s good to remind people of what dishonest jackasses they are.


  4. roger nome 4

    “Our productivity far exceeds what’s needed to keep all of us well off”

    exacytly – and without the centralised collective bargaining that Australia has, and we used to have, the high supply/low demand jobs will always be minimum wage. that’s the bottom line.

    • Pete 4.1

      Right! And this is lost on most who discuss the “getting level with Aussie’s wage” meme. Current government included.

  5. ghostwhowalksnz 5

    I notice the Reserve Bank which used collate the statistics and show Graphs comparing NZ with UK Australia Us etc now only shows NZ without the comparison.


  6. tc 6

    The fact this NACT gov’t ministers and the PM are fast and loose with the facts is old news and the media aren’t so much newshounds but lapdogs so the opposition need to focus (one on one) to get the media reluctantly reporting these issues.

    The strategy has to be to overcome the lack of intelligent/even handed media coverage or else this ‘wolf in sheep clothing’ gov’t will get re-elected and sell sell sell anything not nailed down like Power generators.

    Agree about the dead wood comments…..King/Mallard/Hogdson/Jones should be knocking their opposites to the floor as an example but look like they’re ready for the paddock or just don’t care.

    Goff’s OK (not impressive) but is surrounded by albatrosses……I’d be ‘relaxed’ if I was JK looking across the floor.

  7. jimmy 7

    • There’s a movement to radically change California government, by getting rid of career politicians and chopping their salaries in half. A group known as Citizens for California Reform wants to make the California legislature a part time time job, just like it was until 1966.

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