New Zealand unemployment benefits queue smallest since 1979

Other News Materials 12 April 2008 08:56 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - The number of New Zealanders receiving unemployment benefits has fallen to 19,034 - the lowest level since 1979 when the population was about 1 million fewer, Prime Minister Helen Clark said on Saturday.

She said the dole queue had fallen 88 per cent from 161,128 in 1999 when her Labour Party-led coalition was first elected.

The official unemployment rate at the end of last year was 3.4 per cent, according to Statistics New Zealand.

Clark's announcement came as the Labour Party held its annual congress in preparation for the general election that must be held by mid-November.