Employment Minister Willie Jackson on The Nation said:
So, unemployment – currently 4.5 per cent or thereabouts. Is the government still aiming to get down to 4 per cent in this first term?
Oh, absolutely. That’s always been the goal, and we’re on track. When I came in, into the portfolio, I inherited 4.9 per cent, so I think we’re doing well.
The unemployment rate in December 2017 was 4.5% not 4.9%. Even if you go back to September 2017 it was only 4.6%. So there has been no drop.
What’s driving the drop, do you reckon?
We’re investing in areas that the previous government forgot all about. You know? So when I came in, the employment figures were 4.9 per cent, but the reality was that—
They were on a downward trend, though.
They were on a downward trend, but there’s statistics, and then there’s statistics.
Yes there are the real stats and Willie’s ones.
The unemployment rate dropped in 2017 from 5.3% to 4.5% – a definite downward trend. So far in 2018 it has stayed at 4.5%.
The reality is you know and I know that the stats for Maori, the stats for Pacific Islanders, the stats for women, were terrible, basically.
In December 2017 the stats for PI was 7.7%, it is now 8.8%.
In December 2017 the stats for Maori was 9.0%. It is now 9.4%.
In December 2017 the stats for women was 5.0%. It is now 4.7%.
So the unemployment rates for PI and Maori have increased this year. And the unemployment rate for women is down slightly from 5.0% which is far from terrible.
And so we’ve seen some turnarounds in terms of youth, in terms of NEETs. We’ve taken that from 80,000 down to 72,000, and Maori unemployment has come down, and Maori employment has gone up.
The number of Maori unemployed has gone from 31,600 to 33,200 since 2017.