Changes squarely focussed on the protection of children and young people come into effect tomorrow, along with a range of measures to ease the burden on many families, Prime Minister Bill English says.

Working for Families, benefits and Superannuation will all increase on 1 April, while ACC work levies will be further reduced, for the second year in a row.

“The opening of the new Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki, along with the launch of VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai, which is New Zealand’s first independent advocacy service for children, show how very committed this Government is to tackling child abuse, and giving our kids the helping hand many of them need,” Mr English says.

“Low-income working families who are eligible for the minimum family tax credit (MFTC) will receive a small increase, bringing their after-tax annual income to $23,816.

“As well as that, there will be an increase to the adult minimum wage to $15.75 an hour. I’m proud National has increased the minimum wage every year since coming into office.

“A small increase in benefit rates this year comes on top of last year’s move to increase benefits to families with children by $25 a week, the first time in 43 years a government has lifted them.”

The measures coming into force tomorrow also include:

Benefit rates will increase by 1.1 per cent. Superannuation rates will increase by 1.4 per cent. 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 adult minimum wage will increase by 50 cents to $15.75 an hour on 1 April 2017. The starting-out and training hourly minimum wage rates will increase from $12.20 to $12.60 per hour, remaining at 80 per cent of the adult minimum wage.

“The sound economic management of the National-led Government over the past nine years has helped get New Zealand back on track and in a position to start sharing the benefits of our growing economy with Kiwis.

“The changes coming into effect tomorrow are good examples of the benefits our responsible policy programme is delivering,” Mr English says.

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