A fall in the number of unemployment beneficiaries while unemployment itself is rising raises concerns over whether the Government's punitive welfare changes are preventing kiwis getting the help they really need, the Green Party said today.
The latest benefit numbers show that, while there was a seasonal increase in unemployment numbers, the number of people on the unemployment benefit is down on last year, despite the number of people who are unemployed being up.
"It's unusual that at the same time that the number of people who are out of work is rising, the number of people getting unemployment benefits is falling," Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei said.
"It would be extremely concerning if many people who need help because they have lost their job are not getting help because of National's punitive welfare changes.
"The numbers may also indicate growing numbers of families under stress as one partner loses a job, but is ineligible for the benefit because the other is working.
"It's no surprise the National Government prefers to tout unemployment benefit numbers over the real number of unemployed which the latest figures state is about 175,000.
"National has failed to create jobs and is spending its efforts on punishing people who lose their job through no fault of their own.
"Kiwi families need a government that is committed to jobs and wages, not denying help to people in need," Mrs Turei said