From Question time today:
Grant Robertson: Is it correct that the 46,000 long-term unemployed is the highest level since 1999, other than two quarters in 2012?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: I would certainly want to investigate the number, because, as the member will be aware, in the welfare reform process there has been a lot of reclassification of people, and the product of that reclassification is that a lot more people are now regarded as available for work. They used to languish on the sickness benefit under the Labour Government, which decided they were hopeless and gave up on them. We do not give up on people like that. Even if they cannot get a job immediately, we try to help them get ready to get a job.
It was National that put a definition on "long-term" unemployed. In fact, long-term on any benefit was defined as 1 year plus.
There were 65,652 Jobseeker claimants who had been on a benefit for more than a year at September 2015. A substantial drop from 82,006 in September 2010.
Labour never officially defined long-term dependence on a benefit. Not until Robertson - in Opposition - decided it was 26 weeks or more....well, at least for the unemployment benefit.