Long-term welfare dependency is reducing and more young people are achieving higher qualifications under the Government’s Better Public Services initiative, Deputy Prime Minister Bill English and State Services Minister Jonathan Coleman say.
The Government today published the July update of BPS targets, which confirms more good progress in tackling some of the most challenging issues facing New Zealanders, however making headway in other areas is slower, Mr English says.
“The Government is committed to making progress on the really difficult issues that affect our communities and families, and particularly the most vulnerable,” he says.
“Taxpayers spend billions of dollars a year on public services to help their fellow New Zealanders and this Government is determined to ensure they get what they pay for. Our focus on reducing welfare dependency, increasing achievement in schools and reducing crime require government agencies to find better solutions and to work with others to implement them.
“We are prepared to spend money on effective programmes which change lives, because what works for the community also works for the Government’s books.”
Dr Coleman says the ambitious goals set by the BPS initiative were chosen to make a real difference to the lives of New Zealanders.
“We have always said some of the targets will be challenging and require determination and teamwork to achieve, and it’s pleasing to see agencies working co-operatively.
“The latest update shows we are making good progress overall. We have now met the targets for reducing total crime and youth crime. There has been good progress in reducing long-term welfare dependency, increasing Level 2 NCEA pass rates and those with New Zealand Qualifications Framework Level 4.
“Progress in the past 12 months towards our target of reducing long-term welfare dependency is encouraging, with 6434 (8.5 per cent) fewer people continuously receiving jobseeker support for more than one year. We are also seeing people stay in employment for longer.
“In other result areas, more work is being done to reduce rheumatic fever, reduce assaults on children, and improve online business transactions.”
Dr Coleman says that because of the BPS programme, agencies are working together more effectively and delivering results through collaboration and innovation.
“Agencies are making better use of data to drive better services and to meet the needs of local communities. Agencies are also learning about what works through research and evaluation,” he says.
“There is a greater focus on chief executives doing what is best for the system as a whole, rather than just looking at the short term interests of their department, and that is supporting the changes needed to achieve results.”
The BPS programme began in 2012 when the Prime Minister announced goals and measurable targets in 10 challenging areas, including reducing long-term welfare dependency, supporting vulnerable children, boosting skills and employment, reducing crime, and improving interaction with Government.
The Better Public Service Results July update is here.
Money is being spent where it will have a positive impact.
This is often more expensive in the short term but it will pay off with both social and financial dividends in the medium to longer term.
Behind these numbers are individuals whose lives and outlook are better than they would have been had National not introduced targets and policies that are working for New Zealand.