Opunake Coastal Column - A better New Zealand under National
Seven years ago we promised to spend your hard-earned taxpayer dollars on services that make a difference.
Now in our third term, we’re seeing more and more Kiwi families reaping the benefits from National’s focus on what matters.
The Salvation Army’s State of the Nation report released this week shows through our investment in better public services, we’re making progress in difficult areas. The report revealed youth offending and teen pregnancy rates have declined, jobs and wages have increased, and criminal offending has dropped.
When we took office New Zealand was hurting. The Salvation Army’s 2008 State of the Nation report revealed despite Labour’s massive 70 per cent increase in spending on welfare, health, and education, more of our children appeared to be at risk of harm, more young people were engaged in petty crime, and there was more violent crime.
We learned from Labour’s mistakes – complex problems cannot be solved by simply throwing more taxpayer money at them.
That is why National is committed to delivering services that are better-targeted. We will stop paying for programmes that don’t work and direct spending to services that make a real difference.
We call this our Social Investment Strategy.
This strategy underpinned our successful welfare reform introduced in 2013. Fast-forward 3 years and the number of children in benefit dependent households has fallen by more than 40,000, to the lowest level since 1998.
Moving off welfare means a better life and better opportunities for people and their families. We want households to be healthy and prosperous so they can build brighter futures for their families.
We’re the first government to set public targets to be measured against. We’ve set 10 tough targets in challenging areas such as welfare dependency, crime, child abuse, and educational achievement.
Every six months we publish how each target is tracking. The latest update shows that since 2012 the proportion of immunised 8-month olds has increased from 84 per cent to 93 per cent, the proportion of 18-year olds who achieve NCEA Level 2 has increased from 74 per cent to 81 per cent, and crime has dropped by almost 20 percent.
Each of these statistics represents real improvements for real people, their families and our communities.
There’s still a lot of work to do and but we will keep our promise to make progress on what really matters to New Zealanders.