Prime Minister Bill English has announced challenging new targets for the public service to ensure it continues to improve the lives of New Zealanders, as well as $321 million in funding for social investment initiatives to help our most vulnerable.

“The National-led Government is committed to improving the lives of New Zealanders through effective public services and targeted investment in the areas where we can make a real difference,” Mr English says.

“Since we introduced the Better Public Services targets in 2012 we have seen tangible and long-lasting results in priority areas like reduced welfare dependency, better educational achievement, improved healthcare and less serious crime.

“We want to build on that success so today I announced we are setting new targets which outline my expectations of the public sector.

“I expect to see our public services do even more for New Zealanders so they can lead better lives and these targets will help ensure that.”

The Prime Minister also announced that Budget 2017 will include a $321 million Social Investment Package to support some of the most vulnerable New Zealanders.

Included in the package is a $69 million investment over four years focused primarily on ensuring young New Zealanders get a better start to life.

“The $69 million investment includes a national rollout of the Family Start Programme, an expansion of behavioural services for young children and a new programme to support pre-school children with oral language needs and literacy difficulties,” Mr English says.

“These will help support children most at-risk of long-term dysfunction by investing earlier to help them overcome barriers to leading successful lives.

“These programmes are backed by rigorous analysis to ensure we’re investing where it makes a real difference. That’s important – we need to drive improvement and also ensure we invest taxpayers’ money where it is most effective.

“In Budget 2017 we set a challenge to Government agencies - show us it will work and we will pay for it.”

Mr English says these announcements demonstrate the Government’s commitment to improving lives, helping New Zealanders and sharing the benefits of a growing economy.

“It is because of our growing economy and this Government’s clear economic plan that we are now in a position to achieve things we hadn’t thought possible 10 years ago, including tackling some of our most pressing social issues. We are determined to grasp the opportunities that a strong economy gives us.”

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