National is committed to supporting rural communities and here’s just some of the ways we’re doing that:
Helping families get ahead
National is working hard to ensure parents and their children are getting the support they need through a range of initiatives, including:
- Free GP visits and prescriptions for all children aged under 13, which is benefitting around 780,000 children.
- More paid parental leave - we’ve extending it to 18 weeks and made it available to more people. We’ve also increased the parental tax credit to a maximum of $220 a week and extended it to 10 weeks.
- Investing $359 million to improve the quality of teaching and leadership in schools, which is already benefitting 320,000 children, and investing more than $700 million in digital infrastructure to help schools connect with the world.
- Introducing National Standards so parents know how their child is getting on at school.
- Rolling out a national bowel screening programme that will screen 700,000 New Zealanders aged 60-74 once fully implemented. Each year around 3,000 New Zealanders are diagnosed with bowel cancer and it is one of our biggest killers.
- Funding 1000 health professionals to work in hard-to-staff rural communities and specialities through our Voluntary Bonding Scheme.
We’re investing $400 million over time to support regional irrigation projects, which have the potential to boost exports by $4 billion over the next 10 years and support many new jobs.
Growing our primary sector
The Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) aims to boost the value, productivity and profitability of our primary sector through investment between government and industry. The Government and industry are co-investing $724 million, over time, into 21 Primary Growth Partnership programmes including:
- The Red Meat Profit Partnership – a programme to drive best farming practice and maximise red meat profits.
- Lifestyle Wines – an initiative partnering with 15 contributing wineries to develop high-quality, low-calorie wines.
- New Zealand Avocados Go Global programme – a programme to increase productivity and capability within the Kiwi avocado industry.
- Passion2Profit – a seven-year programme between Deer Industry New Zealand (DINZ) and the Ministry of Primary Industries to improve the primary production and marketing of New Zealand venison. It aims to deliver economic benefits of $56 million per year.
We’ve also established three primary industry trades academies to train more young people with the skills they need to succeed in the rural sector, with 850 places available each year, and increased tuition subsidies for agriculture-related tertiary qualifications.
Supporting our exporters
National is focused on building a more competitive and productive economy that will enable exporters to sell more of what they produce to the world by:
- Working towards an aspirational goal of doubling the value of primary sector exports by 2025.
- Saving the primary sector hundreds of millions in tariffs and opening the door to 800 million potential customers through free trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
- Strengthening our biosecurity system with 90 new frontline staff, 24 new detector dog teams and six x-ray machines over the past 12 months.
- Reducing ACC levies by around $2 billion a year since 2012.
- Investing nearly $70 million to eradicate bovine tuberculosis from cattle and deer in New Zealand by 2026. This work is important because the ability of our beef, dairy and deer industries to compete in global markets hinges on the successful management of tuberculosis.
- Introducing a new small business-friendly tax package including overhauling provisional tax with a new pay-as-you-go option from 1 April 2018 and scrapping the ongoing monthly penalty – saving small businesses around $180 million a year.
Managing our resources
Freshwater resources are precious, and for our rural communities, a critical resource for the future. We have worked with farmers to help clean up our waterways, and more than 23,000 kilometres of dairy farm waterways are fenced off. We are:
- Investing around $450 million into cleaning up lakes, rivers and other iconic waterways.
- Requiring dairy cattle to be excluded from waterways by 1 July 2017.
- Planting up to 15,000 hectares of forestry on underutilised and erosion-prone land through the Afforestation Grants Scheme.
Improving broadband connectivity
The Government is investing $450 million to roll out faster internet to our rural communities and improve mobile coverage in black spot areas through our rural broadband programmes.
We’ve also enabled the widespread roll out of 4G cellular networks across more than 90 per cent of New Zealand.