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Enjoying meeting the community
By Todd Muller
I’m really enjoying getting out and about meeting my local communities, at last count more than 4000 people and doors, the National team has connected with in five weeks.
During the last week I’ve focused on Welcome Bay and Ohauiti. Again the feedback is positive, particularly around this Government’s focus on ensuring the money we do spend on your behalf actually delivers results.
Improving the lives of the most vulnerable New Zealanders is one of National’s priorities. The best way we can help do this is to ensure the public services all New Zealanders pay for are productive, efficient and actually making a difference in people’s lives.
In the past, the success of government programmes has too often been measured only by how much money was being spent.
But we know that isn’t a good measure. A better measure is knowing fewer children are contracting rheumatic fever, more are achieving NCEA Level 2, and fewer crimes are being committed. Those are the results that matter.
To reinforce our expectations, in 2012 the Prime Minister set 10 concrete and specific results we want to achieve during the next few years. These are in areas that have been challenging not just in New Zealand but all around the world – such as welfare dependency, crime, child abuse and educational achievement.
We’ve been very transparent about how we’re tracking and the latest progress report shows we’re making progress, particularly in reducing crime and welfare dependence and increasing educational achievements.
Reducing long-term welfare dependence is on track with an 8.5 per cent reduction in long-term jobseekers during the last year.
The Government has continued to invest in welfare reforms, which means supporting people to move off welfare, into work. And our growing economy is helping by producing more jobs.
We’re also making a difference in education with the proportion of 18-year-olds gaining NCEA Level 2 or above now at 78.6 per cent – including a big increase for young Maori and Pasifika.
In addition, we’ve already achieved our 2017 targets of reducing total crime by 15 per cent and youth crime by 25 per cent. We currently have our lowest crime rate since 1978.
We still have work to do to reduce the number of child assaults, though huge efforts are being made in that area.
National is committed to tackling these issues for two reasons.
Firstly, we want more New Zealanders, particularly the most vulnerable, to have better opportunities to lead more fulfilling and independent lives.
Secondly, every time we steer another former prisoner away from re-offending, or someone shifts off long-term welfare into paid employment, they’re not only helping build a better life for themselves but they’re reducing the future tax burden on their fellow New Zealanders.
What works for our communities also works for the Government’s books, and that’s better for all of us. Look forward to seeing more of you during next few weeks.