National says 'no talk' of cutting benefits

Paul Goldsmith.
Paul Goldsmith. Photo credit: Getty

The National Party says it is not looking at cutting welfare payments if elected.

It comes as Stats NZ revealed that 37,500 people became unemployed in April, which is a record monthly drop.

It also reported a rise of more than, 30,000 people claiming the Jobseeker Support benefit.

National finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith said welfare cuts were not on the agenda for the party.

"There's no talk of dropping benefit levels at all," he said.

"We will have to spend more overall on benefits because there will be more New Zealanders on benefits. The real challenge is to try and reduce that growth of numbers and to ensure that as many New Zealanders as possible retain their jobs."

Goldsmith said another challenge was to get people back into jobs with a growing economy.

But he said it was critical to reduce job losses.

"And that's about things like making sure international education is working again ... opening up the trans-Tasman bubble, allowing businesses to operate as freely as possible in the post-Covid world and then having a clear plan to grow the economy," Goldsmith said.