Continuing investment approach

The Government remains committed to its social investment approach to improve services for those most in need, Finance Minister Bill English says.

“The Prime Minister has made clear that in this third term the Government will further focus on issues influencing children in material deprivation and hardship. Just as there are many and sometimes inter-related causes of hardship, there must also be multiple and sometimes inter-related strands to the solution. 

“The Better Public Services programme, reform of the social housing sector and the investment approach that we have developed to improve services for the people who need them most, are all part of the Government’s ongoing programme. 

“In another step, The Treasury will issue a Request for Information inviting submissions from people who work with vulnerable New Zealanders as well as others whose input might help us invest to get better results.”

The Request for Information will focus on:

Effective ways of identifying and engaging the children and families most at risk of poor education, criminal justice and employment outcomes.

How existing services or support could be improved to deliver better outcomes for the most at-risk children and their families.

Issues not currently being addressed that affect at-risk children and their families.

New interventions, services or arrangements that could deliver better outcomes.

This approach builds on initiatives like Whanau Ora, Children’s Teams and Social Sector Trials, which focus on the needs of individual citizens.

Information collected will be used to identify where existing government services can be improved, or where new localised or citizen-centred services can be trialled as part of Budget 2015. Initiatives could be funded through new spending or reprioritising existing expenditure. . .

An investment approach is not necessarily less expensive in the short term, but careful, targeted spending that will make a positive difference to the lives of people in need pays social and financial dividends in the medium to longer term.

An example of this is the incentive for people on benefits who are willing to move to Christchurch for work.

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley says the Government’s 3K to Christchurch scheme is a winner with 633 unemployed people taking up the offer.

“Since the scheme began in July a total of 523 men and 110 women have received the $3,000 payment as an incentive to move off benefit to Christchurch for a fulltime job.  204 of these are aged between 16 and 24 years.

“It is transforming lives.  A Northland father in his 40s who has been on benefit since 2007 has been working in asbestos removal since July and has since been promoted to Supervisor.  He loves the work and the money.  While he’s missing his family, his employer is paying for him to fly home for weekends because he has become so crucial to the business.

“A 23 year old man who had been unemployed since May has impressed an employer so much that he has been offered an Air Conditioning apprenticeship.

“Unsurprisingly the greatest take-up has been in the construction sector with 350 positions, followed by transport, warehousing and manufacturing.

“The Government is currently exploring extending the scheme beyond Christchurch to other parts of the country with high labour demands and low unemployment.

“It is fantastic that 3K to Christchurch is playing a vital part in attracting people to help with the rebuilding of the city, says Mrs Tolley.

When there’s a mis-match between the jobless and the jobs, a financial incentive which covers the cost of moving and getting established is a good investment.

The short term cost of the payment will be more than compensated for by medium and longer term savings in benefit payments.

Moving people from benefits to work is one of the most effective ways to tackle poverty and the problems that go with it.

Our $3k to Christchurch initiative is helping beneficiaries back into work and is addressing skill shortages. ntnl.org.nz/10w2r2n

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