National Party Leader Bill English says the Government’s decision to axe the Better Public Services Targets is a recipe for dumb and lazy government that will make the public service less effective at improving lives.

“These targets have had an immense impact on New Zealand’s public service and on the lives of New Zealanders. They have helped lead to real improvements in everything from a 31 per cent reduction in youth crime, 60,000 fewer children in benefit-dependent households and halving the proportion of 18-year-olds not achieving NCEA Level 2.

“They meant that when New Zealand’s public servants turned up to work they knew exactly what it was they should be doing to improve lives and to do their jobs better – and they, along with the Government, were held to account because their results were measured.

"Taking them away will mean less focus. And the Government is doing this at the very time the public service was preparing to take the next steps to really dig into the hard core drivers of deprivation and to make real, long term changes for the better.

“Why wouldn't the Government want health and social services to be reducing the number of children admitted to hospital with avoidable disease? And why wouldn’t it want them enrolling 90 per cent of women with a lead maternity carer by the end of their first trimester when early enrolment is a good indicator of quality maternity care?

“Labour has always disliked the public accountability that goes with this strong focus on getting results and now they are taking the opportunity to get rid of that accountability.

“Instead, we are likely to see a shift to higher-level longer-term targets that apply to no one in particular and for which no one in particular can be held accountable and that’s not good enough,” Mr English says.

The latest BPS results can be found here.

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