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Hon John Boscawen: I seek leave of the House to ask a question of the honourable Leader of the Opposition.
Mr SPEAKER: I guess it is possible for members to ask questions of members. Leave of the House is sought for that purpose. Is there any objection?
Hon Member: No.
Mr SPEAKER: I trust it is in order, but let me just check with the Clerk to make sure there is no Standing Order against that. Normally a question to a member is to do with the member’s responsibilities, but leave has been granted to the member.
Hon John Boscawen: Thank you, Mr Speaker. My question is to the Leader of the Opposition: given that he is so concerned about youth unemployment, what responsibility do he and his colleagues take for the dramatic rise in youth unemployment after youth rates were cancelled, making it illegal for a young person to take a job at less than $13 an hour?
Hon Phil Goff: It is just as well that the question was asked of the Leader of the Opposition, because the Prime Minister does not give answers. [Interruption]
Mr SPEAKER: Order! Now, I ask members why it was difficult to see me on my feet. There was absolutely no reason to give an answer like that at all, given the question was asked of the Leader of the Opposition. Actually, I should point out that things have changed a bit since the Leader of the Opposition was last a Minister.
Hon PHIL GOFF: The answer is that at the time that Labour left office, youth unemployment was a third of the level that it is now. It was at that level because a Labour Government actually invested in skill training for people. A Labour Government created 350,000 new jobs, and a Labour Government reduced the number of people on unemployment benefits to 17,000, and that is a track record I am really proud of. The Prime Minister would do better to halve that.