Better-than-expected progress in reducing crime and having more young people attain higher qualifications means these two Better Public Service targets will be made more challenging if National is returned to government after the election.
The two targets are among 10 this Government has set to ensure the money invested in public services actually delivers demonstrable gains for New Zealanders, National Party Finance Spokesman Bill English and State Services Spokesman Jonathan Coleman say.
“For too long, governments have considered that spending more money equates to fixing problems, even when the evidence shows that simply isn’t the case,” Mr English says.
“That’s why our Government considers results rather than more spending as the best measure of the effectiveness of public services.
“In 2012, we set measurable targets in 10 challenging areas to improve the lives of New Zealanders, particularly the most vulnerable, and it’s pleasing that our six-monthly updates show good progress.
“In two targets, the results have been so much better than anticipated that we’re lifting the bar so we aim for even more improvement.”
The new targets are:
• Raising the proportion of 25 – 34-year-olds who will have advanced trade qualifications, diplomas and degrees by 2017 to 60 per cent – up from 55 per cent in the current target.
• Reducing the total crime rate by 20 per cent from June 2011 to June 2017 – up from the current target reduction of 15 per cent.
“We’re lifting our sights because there has already been significant progress on each of these targets and we want to keep them challenging,” Dr Coleman says.
Other targets in the BPS programme include reducing the number of people who have been on a working age benefit for longer than 12 months, reducing the number of assaults on children, reducing the incidence of rheumatic fever and increasing the proportion of 18-year-olds with NCEA Level 2 or an equivalent qualification.
“Our focus on results, and being accountable for achieving them, is changing the way the public service is thinking and operating,” Dr Coleman says.
“We’re open to new ideas and new ways of people working together so we get more children immunised and ensure fewer children are assaulted.
“Our primary objective is to make a difference that improves the lives of New Zealanders and we expect that over time this will also reduce cost pressures on the government.
“That’s our aim and a third term National government would continue to work for better returns from the billions of dollars that taxpayers spend to help and support their fellow New Zealanders.”
When you get a government with the courage to set targets and which understands it takes quality spending rather than quantity spending to make a positive difference you get progress.
These targets and the policies supporting them are working for New Zealand and we need another National-led government to ensure they keep working.