Prime Minister John Key has hit back at the opposition Labour Party's pledge to cut unemployment, saying Thursday's budget will show a faster drop in the jobless rate than previously estimated.
The Treasury will forecast unemployment at 4.5 percent by 2017, lower than the 5.2 percent rate projected in the December half-year economic and fiscal update, and down from a current rate of 6 percent.
"The target actually in the budget is 4.5 percent, I can tell you that for a fact, for 2017, that's what it's tracking at," Key said at his weekly post-Cabinet press conference.
Labour leader David Cunliffe today pledged to reduce the jobless rate to 4 percent by the end of his first-term, which would be in 2017, if elected, saying the Opposition would create 20,000 more jobs than what the National-led administration is projecting.
Cunliffe said Labour would drive jobs growth through a combination of policies including more government buying of Kiwi-made products, stimulating production of higher-value wood products to boost forestry jobs, and create jobs in the construction sector via its 'KiwiBuild' plan to build 100,000 affordable homes over 10 years.
Key rubbished Cunliffe's announcement, saying a prospective Labour-Green government opposed sectors such as oil and gas and the expansion of agriculture, and that meant "there's no way they're going to get unemployment going down.
"It's not about what target you have or what figure you have, it's what policies you have to back that up," he said.
Government figures last week showed faster than expected jobs growth in the first three months of the year and a greater level of participation, indicating the flood of inbound migrants were finding work without driving up wages. Because the size of the workforce was growing, the unemployment rate stayed at 6 percent.
This article is tagged with the following keywords. Find out more about MyNBR Tags
- Nigel Latta only tells half the story on the economy
- Super Fund suspected window dressing at Milford
- ACC buys high, sells low as Intueri surprises investors with cascade of bad news
- Craig expected to seek judge-only High Court review of jury's $1.27m damages decision
- Stonewood Homes liquidation becoming murkier
Most listened to
- Week in Review: a wrap of NBR Radio's top stories, interviews and analysis
- Craig-Williams trial: Otago University defamation specialist on 'Where to from here?"
- Testy exchange over Super Fund evidence
- 'It’s not as big as it was last year but it’s still the biggest game in town' – Paul Maher talks up TVNZ's audience
- Hydroworks CEO Andrew Rodwell on the company's prospects post-funding.