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The first of April every year sees a range of Government policies updated that will have a positive impact on many Horowhenua and Kapiti residents.

This year many of the changes have a focus on protecting children, young people, families and senior citizens.

Superannuation rates will increase by 1.41 per cent, maintaining our commitment to keep superannuation at 66 per cent of the net average wage.

Super has now risen by over 35% since 2008 - more than double the inflation rate over that period. This is very important to the many senior citizens living in our area.

The adult minimum wage will rise 50 cents to $15.75 an hour, and we are also raising the starting out and training minimum wage to keep it at 80 per cent of the adult minimum wage.

Benefit rates will increase by 1.1 per cent to keep up with inflation. Last year we increased benefit rates beyond inflation for families with children by $25 a week after tax, the first Government in 43 years to do so.

Students aren't forgotten with student assistance and allowances adjusted to inflation - for the first time in 6 years plus repayable living costs are being increased.

ACC levies will be further reduced for the second year in a row. ACC levies will fall by $139.2 million with a further $113.2 million reduction on 1 July. In total levies have been cut by $2.25 billion since 2008.

The new Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki officially opened on 1stApril. This new Ministry will help us better understand the families who most need our support, and identify what really helps them to lead better lives.

The Government has also launched New Zealand’s first independent advocacy service for children. Together, these initiatives will help tackle child abuse and give our kids the helping hand many of them need to lead confident and happy lives.

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