As I move around Horowhenua and Kapiti it’s great to see our economy growing, unemployment dropping and wages increasing. Thanks to the Government’s financial management and economic growth we now have a $1.8 billion surplus.
This puts us in a position to make major long-lasting improvements to our social sector with smarter public investment and better services to improve the lives of everyone across the country.
There is now less crime in our communities, over 50,000 fewer people are dependent on welfare since 2011, and more children are attending early childhood education. We’ve also increased infant immunisations and reduced rheumatic fever by 23 per cent.
These results are a noticeable improvement and have made a positive impact on many local Kapiti and Horowhenua residents.
We are building on these achievements with a new group of 10 ambitious targets, including six brand new challenges announced by the Prime Minister last week.
These include improved literacy and numeracy skills in primary schools, better health outcomes for new parents and their children, reduced number of assaults and abuse of children, fewer victims of serious crimes, and better access to social housing.
We want Government departments to keep striving for positive results and these targets will give us a new set of priorities until 2021.
We understand the importance of well targeted investment that will make the most difference. Investing in our children’s education, health, crime and housing is important for the welfare of our whole community.
The Prime Minister also announced a $321 million Social Investment Package as part of Budget 2017. This will support our most at-risk New Zealanders, and focus on intervening early to help them lead better lives and become more independent.
The Government is not shying away from the tough issues. We will continue to maximise the opportunities that a strong national and local economy provides us and improve services for all New Zealanders.