Labour promises to knock 1 percent off unemployment

  • 13/05/2017

Labour has opened its election year congress with a promise to lower unemployment to 4 percent in its first year in office.

Finance spokesman Grant Robertson said in his keynote speech on Saturday the party's mission was full employment, and in government Labour would be "relentless" in getting the basics right.

"In the first term of Government we will lower unemployment to 4 percent," he told cheering delegates.

At present it's running at above 5 percent. It reached a low of about 3.4 percent under Labour in 2007, before the global financial crisis saw it balloon to 6.5 percent by 2010.

"We are going to address the scariest number you will hear this year - the 90,000 15 to 24-year-olds who are not in employment, education or training."

Mr Robertson also said a Labour Government would review taxation, and make the system more fair for everyone.

Earlier on Saturday morning during an interview with The Nation, party leader Andrew Little said Labour would unveil a negative gearing policy to level the playing field for first-home buyers.

That's the system that allows owners of rental properties to claim tax write-offs - one of the reasons buying multiple properties and renting them out is so popular.

It's one of the reasons there's a shortage of houses to buy, and Labour has previously signalled it intends removing the tax break.

"All of our housing initiatives are first-term initiatives, they'll be stuff we can do as early as possible, as quickly as possible because the housing situation now is in crisis," Mr Little said.

"We are going to level the playing field and make it easier for first-home buyers to get their first home."

Deputy leader Jacinda Ardern earlier promised to put more nurses in schools.

NZN / Newshub.