The rate of unemployment has slightly decreased, but the conditions for unemployed and low-waged workers continue to drive people into poverty.
“The Ministry of Social Development is moving people off benefits and into precarious and insecure work. This is not addressing unemployment, this is creating a poverty trap,” says
Vanessa Cole, spokesperson for Auckland Action Against Poverty.
“Unemployment has increased under National, and this slight dip does not indicate an improvement in the well-being of unemployed and low-waged workers.
“These statistics do not represent underemployment and therefore do not give a meaningful indication of the overall income workers are trying to live on.
“The work-focussed policies of Work & Income are not focussed on improving the conditions of the working-class, but rather punishing unemployed workers.
“Placing people in low-waged and precarious work often means they lose access to welfare, but also struggle with affording basic necessities.
“The unemployed do not create unemployment. Unemployment is a necessary part of the economy because it allows bosses to drive down wages, offer insecure hours and worsen worker’s conditions.
“The National government speak of a rockstar economy, but wealth is not redistributed to people. In an economy where the government speak of creating jobs, unemployment
“People and whānau in employment living in cars is not an example of a rockstar economy. People are being forced to choose between poverty wages, and poverty benefit payments.
“The solution is to tax the rich and create a liveable income for both unemployed and employed workers.
“We need work with secure hours and high enough wages to improve the material conditions of workers and a welfare system that does not punish the unemployed.
“People shouldn’t be forced into precarious work or have to work long hours in multiple jobs just to live in dignity. We need a liveable income for all.”