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Finance Minister says post-lockdown unemployment will be worse than global 2008 crisis

Finance Minister Grant Robertson has warned Kiwis the unemployment rate in New Zealand will be higher after the coronavirus lockdown than what it was after the 2007-2008 global financial crisis.

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Grant Robertson says the wage subsidies system put in place currently will help "cushion the blow" of all those losing jobs. Source: Breakfast

Mr Robertson spoke to TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning about the Government's most recent moves to help Kiwi employees financially during the global pandemic, but he admitted things aren't expected to get much brighter once it's over.

The most conservative figures say the unemployment rate will remain at four per cent, but Mr Robertson bluntly quashed that prospect.

"It'll be far more than four per cent because that's the unemployment rate that we've got now," Mr Robertson said.

"When we had the global financial crisis, it hit around 6.7 per cent - it'll be more than that.

"I've seen predictions ranging between eight per cent and 30 per cent and I think all that tells you is that making predictions is really, really hard at the moment.

"I don't have numbers at the top end of that - we're still finalising what we think those numbers will be - but there will definitely be more people unemployed."

Mr Robertson tried to lighten the forecast, though, saying the Government has spent over $4 billion so far to help 640,000 Kiwi employees.

"The whole point of the wage subsidies scheme is to cushion that blow, to keep people attached to their jobs so that when we do come out the other end, we can get that recovery going more quickly."