More of our kids are achieving

Public Achievement Information for 2013 shows even more New Zealand children are starting earlier, staying longer, and leaving better qualified.

The Public Achievement Information provides regular snapshots of how our education system is doing, from early learning, through to leaving school, and helps us see where children are not doing as well, and where we need to invest more time, or resources, or funding.

More than 400,000 primary school kids had their progress assessed in reading, writing, and maths last year, and around three quarters were at or above National Standards.

We are also seeing real progress towards our Better Public Services targets.

Our target is to have 98 per cent of school entrants having previously participated in ECE by the end of 2016. Participation is now at 95.9 per cent, representing an extra 3,839 kids since mid-2011.

For our young adults we have two targets, one is to increase the proportion of 18-year-olds with NCEA level 2 or equivalent qualification to 85 per cent by 2017.

Since 2011, the number of 18-year-olds achieving this has gone up from 74.3 per cent, to 78.6 per cent in 2013.

Our final target is for 55 per cent of the population aged 25 to 34 years having a Level 4 or higher qualification by 2017.  In the year to March 2014 we achieved 54.5 per cent, putting us well within reach of our target.

National is working hard to ensure every child gets a good education.  We believe this is one of the most important things we can do to raise living standards, and build a more competitive and productive economy.

For more information, click here and here.

Better Public Services targets giving kids a better start in life

The National-led Government is committed to ensuring Kiwi kids are getting a safer, healthier start in life.

Latest results show 91 per cent of eight-month-olds are fully immunised.  We have gone from having one of the lowest immunisation rates in the world to levels comparable with other OECD countries, including Australia.

Rheumatic fever remains a significant issue for at-risk families – our results show while rates for Maori have stabilised, there has been increase in rheumatic fever for Pasifika.

Our focus on rheumatic fever is raising awareness, and as a result more cases are being identified and treated.

We are becoming increasingly intolerant of abuse and neglect, reflected in the 2 per cent downward trend in substantiated assaults on children. We want this to decline more steeply and the more people willing to report their concerns, the more chances we have to keep our children safe and protected.

We all need to work together to support children, young people, and their families and our Better Public Services targets help us do this.

For more information, click here.

National is helping more Kiwis off welfare and into work

Before National came to power, the welfare system wasn’t working.

We’ve reformed New Zealand’s welfare system to support people who need it the most.

Benefit figures show our approach is working – the number of people on welfare for the June quarter is the lowest since 2008.

Sole parent support figures have dropped 10.7 per cent, and the number of 18 and 19-year-old teen parents on the Young Parent Payment has fallen 11.7 per cent.

We are also on track to achieve our Better Public Services target of a 30 per cent reduction in the number of people who have been continuously receiving working-age Jobseeker Support benefits, for more than 12 months, from 78,000 in April 2012 to 55,000 by June 2017.

Over the year to March 2014, the number of people on Jobseeker Support for more than 12 months dropped by 6,434 – an 8.5 per cent decrease.

National’s focus on building a more competitive and productive economy and delivering better public services is making a real difference in the lives of New Zealanders.

For more information click here and here.

National is helping more Kiwis off welfare and into work

Before National came to power, the welfare system simply expanded with no investment in support to get people into work, or action to prevent long-term benefit dependency.

So we’ve reformed our welfare system and focused on providing intensive support for people who need it the most.

The latest benefit figures show our approach is working – the number of people on welfare for the June quarter is the lowest since 2008.

There are over 16,000 fewer people on welfare compared to June 2013, and sole parents are leading the way with a 10.7 per cent drop.

Sole parents, particularly those who go on benefit in their teens, have the highest lifetime costs of any group on welfare, and are likely to stay on benefit the longest.

That’s why our welfare reforms deliberately targeted them, investing millions into intensive support, training, and childcare.

The number of 18 and 19-year-old teen parents on the Young Parent Payment also dropped, falling 11.7 per cent. With teen parents spending an average of 19 years on benefit, and costing around $246,000 over a lifetime, this is good news for future generations.

The intensive wrap-around support through Youth Services and the tailored support Work and Income case managers are providing is paying off – for taxpayers and for people who were at risk of long-term welfare dependency.

National believes getting people off welfare and into work means a better life, better opportunities, and a brighter future for people and their families. We believe anyone who can work should be in employment, in training, or looking for a job.

Numbers on the Jobseeker benefit have fallen by almost 7,500 since last year, and have been consistently declining since 2010, even as the overall working age population has increased over that period.

Our welfare reforms, and strong and growing economy, are giving more Kiwis the opportunity to get into work, earn higher wages, and build careers for themselves and better lives for their families.

National’s priorities to build a more competitive and productive economy and deliver better public services are making a real difference in the lives of New Zealanders.

Warrants of Fitness annual from 1 July

Until 1 July, New Zealand had one of the highest vehicle inspection frequencies in the world. Our six-monthly inspection system dated to the 1930s and was overdue for modernisation.

The National-led Government has led sensible and balanced changes to ensure our warrant of fitness (WoF) system is efficient, effective, and safe. This is part of growing a more competitive and productive economy.

Now, vehicles first registered on or after 1 January 2000 will move to annual WoF inspections for their lifetime. For new vehicles, after an initial inspection, another WoF won’t be required until the third anniversary of their first registration.

Our changes represent a precautionary approach to older vehicles, while recognising the improving safety of newer vehicles. They will save every vehicle owner time and money, while keeping safety as our highest priority.

Thousands more kids benefit from education

 More young people are on the road to success under a National-led Government.

One of our priorities is to deliver better public services, and we’ve set challenging targets in education because we want the best for Kiwi children.

We want 85 per cent of all 18-year-olds achieving NCEA Level 2 by 2017, and 98 per cent of all new school entrants having previously participated in early childhood education (ECE) by 2016.

We now have 78.6 per cent of 18-year-olds with a minimum of NCEA Level 2 – up 4.3 percentage points in just two years.  That means nearly 1600 more kids in the past two years achieving NCEA Level 2.

Since 2008, there has been a 6.2 percentage point increase for young Maori, and a 5.9 percentage point increase for Pasifika students.

In ECE, participation is up to 95.9 per cent – 3,839 more young kids engaged in learning since mid-2011.

These achievements are giving our young Kiwis so many more options for their futures.

For more information, click here.

Support to double for ACC hearing loss clients

Under National, the ACC scheme has turned around its performance, delivering better services, and is now financially sustainable. Now, major improvements have been made for clients who have injury or work-related hearing loss.

From this month ACC will:

  • Be doubling what it spends on hearing loss, going from approximately $20million to $30million per year.
  • Manage children with injury-related hearing loss on an individual basis so that their rapidly changing needs can be fully addressed as they grow.
  • For adults this means:

o   A separate hearing consultation allowance, so clients can shop around for their hearing aids after they have had their needs assessed

o   Increased ACC contribution to costs

o   Allowing for multiple repairs

o   New funding for ear moulds

o   Including a fixed fitting fee

o   Reduce bureaucracy by reducing the number of bands of degree of hearing loss

ACC and the Ministry of Health have worked closely with the hearing sector on these changes. Kiwis who use hearing aids will be able to shop around for the best price in hearing aids, rather than having to buy where they had the initial test.

Our changes increase choice, reduce cost barriers, and ensure clients have a better hearing treatment experience.

For more information, click here.