National is now resorting to tricks with employment statistics to make the economy look healthier than it is.
“Such ploys are a sure sign of a Government under intensifying pressure,” says Sue Bradford, a spokesperson for Auckland Action Against Poverty.
“It was revealed today that the method Statistics New Zealand uses to measure unemployment has been retrospectively changed without a word to groups like ours who follow such data closely.
“The unemployment rate for the March 2016 quarter is being cut in retrospect from 5.7% to 5.2%. The government has taken upon itself to change the way people are counted so that those who are looking for paid work on the internet are no longer categorised as unemployed.
“This is outrageous in an era where the main source of job advertisements is via online sites.
“There are not many employers advertising in newspapers or putting out vacancy signs on factory gates these days.
“The excuse for the change is that it brings us in line with international measurements.
“But this isn’t good enough. People who are desperate for work and searching online should be counted as unemployed.
“Yesterday the Household Net Worth survey came out showing that the richest 10% of New Zealanders own 60% of wealth, while 40% own just 3%.
“Frontline groups like ours are overwhelmed by the numbers of people now coming to us for help with welfare, employment and housing problems which government departments simply won’t resolve.
“The scale of the economic and social crisis is growing by the day.
“Bill English and John Key know this and are now looking for every means possible to bluff the population into believing things are just fine.
“Using statistics to camouflage reality, while offering popup houses and relocation bribes as answers to the decline in welfare and state housing provision is yet another sign of a government determined to use every trick in the book to keep up appearances.”