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National has today pledged to ensure the Government is held accountable for the spending of billions of dollars of tax-payer money by the public service - and the impact that has on vulnerable New Zealanders, Party leader Bill English says.

“The Government’s decision to abolish the Better Public Services (BPS) targets for no other reason than an ideological dislike for them is disgraceful,” Mr English says.

“Getting rid of them undoes years of work to focus the public services on changing lives by digging into our hardest social problems, rather than just throwing money at them.

“The targets have driven immense changes particularly for the most vulnerable in our communities.

“There are now 60,000 fewer children living in a benefit dependent household, the number of 18 year olds who do not achieve NCEA level 2 has halved, rheumatic fever has dramatically reduced, and youth crime has dropped by a third.

“These improvements must continue, so it is our intention to regularly seek Official Information from each relevant department or agency, and to ask Parliamentary questions, to track the progress of the targets – or their equivalent measures.

“We will publish the results of these OIA requests.

“In May last year we announced 10 refreshed targets to build on the success of those introduced in 2012,” Mr English says.

The refreshed targets announced last year include:

  • A 25 per cent reduction of the number of people on a benefit
  • Having 90 per cent of pregnant women register with a Lead Maternity Carer in their first trimester
  • A 25 per cent reduction in the number of children hospitalised for preventable conditions
  • A 20 per cent reduction in the number of children experiencing a substantiated incidence of physical or sexual abuse
  • By 2021, 80 per cent of year 8 students at or above the National Standard in reading, writing and maths
  • Reducing the number of serious crime victimisations by 10,000
  • A 20% reduction in the median time to find people a social house

“Not only did the targets let us see exactly the kind of difference the money we invested was making for real people, they also gave public servants a clear focus on what they needed to do to improve lives.

“It is our intention to release the information we receive from the Government to the public in March,” Mr English says.

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