National Party leader John Key says he expects unemployment will fall next year if his party is re-elected to government.
The latest statistics show the number of people out of work increased in the three months to September to 157,000.
Mr Key says the Treasury is predicting that the unemployment will fall during 2012 and 2013. He says confidence in the economy is rising and the economy will improve under National, but would not do so if Labour is elected on 26 November.
"There's more confidence coming back into the economy for people to start looking for work. We've created 63,000 jobs in the last two years," Mr Key says.
"And the one thing that's pushing against that is (earthquake-hit) Christchurch where 16,000 jobs were lost there in the last quarter, but I think there's plenty more work to be done."
Statistics New Zealand reports unemployment has risen by 7000 over the past year and is now only 5000 short of the peak 162,000 during the recession in late 2009.
The increase came despite more jobs being created. But those new jobs have not been enough to offset an even larger increase in the workforce.
National's finance spokesperson Bill English admits not enough jobs have been created while the party has been in Government, but its tax policies will help.
Mr English told Radio New Zealand's Checkpoint programme on Thursday the country is only half-way through the first full year of the tax changes brought in by National and businesses have yet to feel the full effect.
"What we do need to do - and what we are doing - is creating the conditions where private sector businesses can grow because they have confidence in their ability to invest and employ. Now, that is a long, slow process."
Show us the jobs, says Goff
Labour leader Phil Goff says John Key needs to show New Zealanders where National is going to find new jobs for the unemployed.
Mr Goff says the Government expected unemployment to drop, but at the moment 1000 people each month are losing their jobs.
"The Government thought that unemployment would be dropping - it's been dropping in Australia. In New Zealand, 1000 extra Kiwis a month are becoming unemployed.
"John Key's challenge to me to show him the money - I'll do that. He should show us the jobs, because we're not getting them."