Better services improving the lives of New Zealanders

Column Articles
Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Each year the government spends a large portion of tax on public services. This includes vital spending on health, education, infrastructure, justice, and welfare. It’s important we target this spending carefully at services that are effective.

We have a high standard of living here in New Zealand. According to the OECD Better Life Index we rank top in health status compared with all other OECD countries.

We also rank above average for well-being, education and skills, personal security, environmental quality, civic engagement, housing, and jobs and earnings.

We’re not perfect though. Here in New Zealand we still grapple with some of the complex systemic issues that are challenging Governments around the world.

Nearly four years ago Prime Minister John Key made a commitment to addressing these difficult issues and announced 10 clear, measurable goals, which we refer to as the Better Public Services targets.

These goals cover issues in long-term welfare dependency, vulnerable children, skills, crime, and interaction with Government. We’re the first administration to set public targets to be measured against, and our progress is reported every 6 months.

These results belong to us all. Behind the numbers are real New Zealand families living better lives.

The latest results show the proportion of immunised 8-month olds has increased from 82 to 93.7 % and the number of first time rheumatic fever hospitalisations has dropped a massive 45 percent. The trend in the number of children and young people experiencing substantiated physical abuse has flattened, after previously being on an upward trajectory. These results mean happier, healthier children that are better prepared for life.

The number of benefit recipients has decreased by 7,245 in a year largely driven by decreases in Sole Parent Support. This represents parents moving into work and training to make a better life for their family.

Our targets encourage the public service sector to find long-term solutions by working with vulnerable people to find out what really makes a real difference.

The latest update confirms our approach is working. We’re making real progress on challenging issues and will continue to deliver more effective and productive services.