Key reveals top 10 'to-do' list

KATE CHAPMAN
Last updated 16:00 25/06/2012
JOHN KEY
FAIRFAX
JOHN KEY: "These targets are not a wish-list, they are a to-do list."

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Beneficiaries, early childhood education, crime and immunisation will be the focus of the Government's new public service targets.

Prime Minister John Key today unveiled details of the Government's preannounced 10 Better Public Service Result Targets.

More than 20,000 unemployed people will be moved off the benefit within five years if the Government manages to meet the new targets.

The goal of reducing the number of working age people receiving a benefit for more than 12 months by 30 per cent would see the number of jobseekers drop from 78,000 to 55,000 by 2017.

Currently 12 per cent of New Zealand's working age population is on a main benefit and more than 230,000 children live in benefit-dependent homes.

The annual cost of working age benefit payments is more than $8 billion.

Being out of work increased the risk of poverty and the longer a person was out of the workforce the harder it was to re-enter, Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said.

"Welfare reform will require more working age people to look for work and the Government is targeting those who can work but have been on a benefit long term."

Other Government targets aimed at children included increasing the number of children who attend early childhood education before starting school to 98 per cent by 2016.

At the moment about 94.7 per cent of children participate in early childhood education.

National also wants to increase infant immunisation rates, from 83 per cent for eight-month olds to 95 per cent, decrease rheumatic fever rates by two thirds  by 2017 and reduce the number of assaults on children.

Key said some of the targets were "very aspirational" but were based on what New Zealanders wanted.

"These targets are not a wish-list, they are a to-do list.

"Some of them will be extremely difficult to achieve."

But the Government made no apology for having high expectations, he said.

Other targets included reducing the crime rate by 15 per cent by 2017, reducing the reoffending rate by 25 per cent, and increasing to 85 per cent, from 67 per cent, the number of 18-year-olds achieving NCEA Level 2 or equivalent.

Finance Minister Bill English will lead the Better Public Services reforms.

He said public service leaders would be held accountable and the sector would have to be more results focused.

"This is also about getting greater efficiency and value-for-money out of our public sector.

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The Government also wants to reduce business costs for dealing with government by 25 per cent by 2017 and have 70 per cent of public transactions with government be digital by 2017, up from 24.

TEN PUBLIC SERVICE TARGETS

1. Reduce the number of people who have been on a working age benefit for more than 12 months.

2. Increase participation in early childhood education.

3. Increase infant immunisation rates and reduce the incidence of rheumatic fever.

4. Reduce the number of assaults on children.

5. Increase the proportion of 18-year-olds with NCEA level 2 or equivalent qualification.

6. Increase the proportion of 25-34 year olds with advanced trade qualifications, diplomas and degrees (at level 4 or above).

7. Reduce the rates of total crime, violent crime and youth crime.

8. Reduce re-offending.

9. New Zealand businesses have a one-stop online shop for all government advice and support they need to run and grow their business.

10. New Zealanders can complete their transactions with the Government easily in a digital environment.

- Fairfax Media

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