Associate Finance Minister Amy Adams will travel to Japan today to attend the 50th Asian Development Bank Annual Meeting in Yokohama.
The Asian Development Bank was established in 1966 to boost social and economic development across Asia. It is now focused on reducing poverty and improving the quality of life in Asia and the Pacific.
The 50th Asian Development Bank Annual Meeting is held from 4 – 7 May and will allow members to discuss regional and global risks, and exchange views on current challenges and the global economic outlook.
“New Zealand was a founding member of the Bank, and this anniversary is an opportunity to celebrate 50 years and reflect on the significant development achievements and remaining challenges within the region,” says Ms Adams.
While in Yokohama, Ms Adams will lead a series of meetings with Finance Ministers from the Asia-Pacific region.
She will meet with ADB President Takehiko Nakao, Governor of the Bank of Japan Haruhiko Kuroda, and President of the Japanese Government Pension Fund, Norihiro Takahashi.
“New Zealand’s economy is strong and diverse, and I’m looking forward to providing an overview of our growth and outlook, particularly as an opportunity for investment.”
Ms Adams will also attend roundtable discussions with members of the Australia – New Zealand Chamber of Commerce.
Budget 2017 will include a $321 million Social Investment Package with 14 initiatives designed to help our most vulnerable to improve their circumstances, Social Investment Minister Amy Adams says.
“Social investment is about tackling our most challenging social issues – intervening early to help the most at-risk New Zealanders to lead better lives, become more independent and cost taxpayers less in the long run.
“We are focused on investing in the areas where we can make the most difference and as the Prime Minister announced today, Budget 2017 will contain the next steps toward embedding social investment as core practice.”
A key part of the package is about supporting children most at risk of long-term disadvantage, with $68.8 million confirmed today as being targeted at children with behavioural issues, communication problems or a challenging family environment.
“Without support, these children won’t learn and participate as well as others – so we want to help set them up for success, rather than waiting for them to fail.
“We also want to ensure our investment in the social sector is used in the most effective ways. Earlier, effective and integrated intervention will deliver better outcomes for New Zealanders and reduce costs in the long run. Applying rigorous and evidence-based investment practices to social services helps ensure we are doing that,” says Ms Adams.
“Initiatives in the Social Investment Package were selected following an in-depth investment analysis where a tough, evidence-based investment threshold was applied.
“Across the social system this Government is committed to funding what works. So Budget 2017 includes the most rigorous investment criteria ever used to ensure funding goes to evidence-based proposals that deliver long-run benefits for vulnerable people and for taxpayers.
“The funded initiatives are about supporting better cross agency ways to target some ingrained social issues across those with complex needs.”
Based on a citizen centred approach, and judged against a whole of life understanding of cost and benefit, the bids were judged against the case for change, value-for-money, and effectiveness in delivering results.
Tēnā Koutou Katoa
It is my honour to join with you all on this ANZAC morning.
May I begin by thanking the people of Turkey for their gracious welcome to those of us who come from the other side of the world to remember some of the most defining times in our nation’s history.
In particular can I acknowledge Bekir Sitki Dağ, the Deputy Governor of Çanakkale, and the Honourable Julie Bishop, Foreign Minister of Australia.
On this day, one hundred and two years ago, the first troops of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps began landing here.
On a cold, brisk morning, much like this one, brave soldiers, filled with anxiety and facing the unknown, landed here on these shores to serve King and country.
They put aside fear and the thoughts of loved ones.
With bare grit and unquestionable courage, they arrived, boots first and friends close behind. And for the next eight months, amid searing heat and bitter cold, rife disease and the carnage of war, they fought an impossible battle.
Few of those who landed on this peninsula that day had been under fire before. For many, that dawn would be their last.
Those first Anzacs came from all walks of life, from every profession and corner of New Zealand. But their courage and their love of home united them.
These were the young sons of New Zealand and Australia. Many were just boys.
As they stepped off the boats, they were filled with hope that a victory here would shorten the Great War.
They wondered how they would overcome the terrors of battle and whether they would be able to do their duty.
But they did. Some unto death.
Here amongst the horrors of Gallipoli – more than 17,000 New Zealand soldiers fought, and 2700 died. Close to 5000 were wounded.
Over 26,000 Australians suffered at our side.
The Aussies were our mates. They, too, were far from home. They stood with us shoulder-to-shoulder, under fire, doing what had to be done. From that day to now, we’re proud to call them our closest friends.
Over the eight months of the Gallipoli campaign, the soldiers who fought here showed remarkable courage and tremendous strength.
Fighting side by side, it was impossible for the Kiwis not to be filled with admiration for the splendid courage and heroism of the Australians – nor them for ours.
The bravery shown on these hills formed the Anzac Spirit and was the birth of a bond between nations.
That the mission at Gallipoli failed in no way undoes what the Anzacs accomplished here or the great bravery and devotion to duty they displayed.
In fact, it makes their suffering and achievements all the more poignant.
And so every year, on this day, we gather at the rising sun to honour those first Anzacs.
We remember their sacrifices.
We remember the overwhelming odds.
And we remember the dead – those who paid the ultimate price so we might enjoy our freedom.
We honour the nurses who tended to the wounded. Those who prayed at the bedside of the dying. Those that dug the hard dirt to bury their friends.
And we honour the families whose sons never returned home, those mothers who gave their sons to war.
But we don’t just remember the fallen.
We remember those who survived. Who fought alongside their friends and saw them fall. Who endured and suffered, and lived to fight other battles in other places. For in them the Anzac Spirit prevailed and was brought home, and it lives on in us.
We acknowledge those who continue to serve in our Defence Force today. These brave men and women follow the footsteps of the first Anzacs to dark places around the world to bring peace to where there is conflict and hope where there is none. They do our nation proud.
Today, Gallipoli is no longer a place of war, but a place where we remember the brave sons who fought and fell here.
It’s where our sense of nationhood was born and where friendships were forged.
For those men who came ashore here, few could have imagined that a century later we might gather in this place, not as adversaries but as friends.
That the very enemy they were fighting might one day host scores of New Zealanders who travelled halfway around the globe to honour their fight.
At Gallipoli, we fought a noble enemy, and in time they became our friends. We now stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Turkey, remembering our fallen men and the spirit in which they fought.
We honour the Turkish people who stand vigil at the graves of our men, and we thank them.
This peninsula of war is now a place of friendship and healing. It’s proof that enemies can become the truest of friends. That we have more in common than that which divides us.
We hope it inspires those conflicts around the world where deep-rooted hatred seems impossible to overcome.
May they turn to Gallipoli and see what can become of their bitterness.
As dawn breaks, we pay tribute to the courage, sacrifice, and loss of those who have served our country.
To the Anzacs who lie asleep in these hills, we salute you.
Thank you for your sacrifice.
Rest in peace, our brave sons.
You live on, in us.
Justice Minister Amy Adams leaves for Turkey today as New Zealand’s official representative at the 102nd ANZAC Day commemorations at Gallipoli.
“The Gallipoli campaign has become a defining event in New Zealand's history. It will be my privilege to share the occasion with the hundreds of New Zealanders who have travelled across the globe to attend,” Ms Adams says.
“Gallipoli was New Zealand’s first major role in the First World War. 102 years on from the first landing, Anzac Day remains an opportunity to reflect on the sacrifice of the 2779 New Zealand killed and the 4852 wounded there.
“It’s also a time to honour all those who served in the First World War, and the other wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations for New Zealand.”
Ms Adams will attend a number of commemorative services on the Gallipoli Peninsula, including the Dawn Service and the New Zealand Service at Chunuk Bair.
“As demonstrated by the recent unveiling of the Turkish Memorial at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park, Anzac Day has profound historical significance not only for New Zealanders and Australians, but also for the people of Turkey.
“Year after year, our hosts accommodate the many Australians and New Zealanders who come to see and experience what has become a special place in our countries’ shared history.”
A new Social Investment Agency is to be created which will help social sector agencies better understand and meet the needs of our most at-risk New Zealanders and communities, Minister Responsible for Social Investment Amy Adams has announced.
“The Social Investment focus is fundamentally about changing the lives of the most vulnerable New Zealanders by focusing on individuals and families, understanding their needs better and doing more of what we know is most likely to give the best results,” Ms Adams says.
“We’re pivoting the system around to help social sector agencies shift away from just focusing on their specific areas into better understanding and being able to assess the impact of their interventions across an individual’s life course. Greater use of data and evidence, and a focus on measuring outcomes, means we can create a system that looks for more opportunities to intervene sooner and more effectively.”
To help achieve this, a new, standalone Social Investment Agency and Social Investment Board will be created.
“The new agency will replace the Social Investment Unit currently operating as part of MSD and will provide robust all-of-Government social investment advice about which people we should be investing further in, and in what ways. This includes applying rigorous and evidence-based investment practices to social services. It will also be tasked with building the social investment architecture for all government and NGO agencies to use to help frontline staff fine-tune services and make them better targeted.
“Given the focus on evaluation and analysis, the work of the Social Investment Agency has clear potential for alignment with the range of functions currently being delivered through Superu. The State Services Commission has been asked to provide advice by the end of July on the future delivery of those functions to ensure the optimal structures are in place.”
The SIA launches on 1 July as a stand-alone departmental agency with its own chief executive, hosted within the State Services Commission. The Social Investment Board made will be made up of the Chief Executives of the Ministries of Education, Health, Justice and Social Development with an independent chair. It will be responsible for providing investment advice and implementation oversight, reporting through the Minister Responsible for Social Investment to the Social Policy Cabinet committee.
The Government spent $550 million over the last three months to support New Zealanders with a roof over their heads – the equivalent of $6.2 million every day.
Social Housing Minister Amy Adams released the new Social Housing Quarterly Report for the March 2017 quarter, which shows that wait times are down and more people are being helped into a warm, safe place to stay.
“We’re helping more people than before, and sooner. 1800 families were helped off the register into suitable housing, and they spent less time waiting to be housed,” Ms Adams says.
The new report shows that the increase in the Housing Register has slowed. At the end of March, there were 4865 applicants on the register – up just 2 per cent from 4771 in the previous quarter. The median time to house was down eight per cent.
9218 emergency housing Special Needs Grants were paid to 2616 clients – totalling $8.8 million.
“We promised to look after those needing emergency housing and we’re delivering on that – supporting hundreds of New Zealanders with a safety net while we find them more sustainable housing,” Ms Adams says.
“As more transitional and social housing is secured, we expect the need for the Special Needs Grant to decrease. New Zealanders needing housing support will continue to get it.
“These numbers underscore the importance of our plan to grow the number of social houses available, from 66,000 today to 72,000 over the next three years.”
Figures at a glance:$550 million total housing support provided in March 2017 quarter (89 days) Helped 1800 households into homes 4865 people on the housing register – up 2 per cent on last quarter 9218 emergency housing Special Needs Grants paid to 2616 clients – total spent $8.8 million Around 66,000 social houses across New Zealand.
The new Social Housing Quarterly Report can be found at http://www.msd.govt.nz/documents/about-msd-and-our-work/work-programmes/social-housing/msd-social-housing-quarterly-report-march-2017.pdf
The latest figures on the Housing Register can be found at www.housing.msd.govt.nz/information-for-housing-providers/register
Government funding that was committed to assist the Christchurch City Council in their housing objectives will be used to establish a shared equity home ownership initiative, says Social Housing Minister Amy Adams.
The Government committed funding in Budget 2015 to support the Christchurch City Council to achieve their housing objectives. The council has decided to use $3 million of this funding to establish the Christchurch Housing Fund to help Christchurch residents on modest incomes to buy their own home.
“The Christchurch City Council has proposed to use $3 million in Government funding committed to supporting their housing objectives to establish the Christchurch Housing Fund,” says Ms Adams.
“The council has designed this initiative and will be responsible for its implementation. It aims to help aspiring Christchurch homeowners by providing a second mortgage up to 40 per cent of their house purchase price, which will make their bank mortgage more affordable.”
The Christchurch City Council will arrange to match the Government’s funding, bringing the total of the fund to at least $6 million. The council estimates that between 25-40 households would be assisted by the Christchurch Housing Fund in the first three years of operation.
The fund will use several criteria for deciding who will receive this financial assistance. It will prioritise households at or below the median income level for Christchurch, households with children, and those with existing savings. The price cap on applicable housing will be the same as that for KiwiSaver HomeStart Grants – $500,000 for existing properties or $550,000 for new builds.
Work is underway on the most significant upgrade to the Taumarunui courthouse in 40 years, says Justice Minister Amy Adams.
“The $1.4 million upgrade includes interior redecoration, exterior surface refresh and cell upgrade,” says Ms Adams.
“A key part of the upgrade will be improved security features including a screened-off secure dock. This will provide enhanced security to the community.”
The courthouse was built in 1970 and hosts a single courtroom and a cell.
"The upgrade will bring the facilities up to modern standards and future-proof the courthouse for years to come," says Ms Adams.
Contractors have started work this week and aim to have the job completed in November.
The courthouse is a hearings-only facility and last year dealt with around 660 cases.
A Bill that overhauls New Zealand’s family violence laws has passed its first reading in Parliament today with unanimous support, says Justice Minister Amy Adams.
“For too long, New Zealand has been ranked as having some of the worst reported rates of family violence in the world. It’s time to think about family violence differently and create an effective, integrated system for addressing this complex and insidious issue,” says Ms Adams.
“The changes in the Family and Whānau Violence Legislation Bill are the most significant reforms of our family violence system undertaken in the last two decades.”
The Bill will overhaul the 20-year-old Domestic Violence Act, amend six other Acts and make consequential changes to over 30 pieces of law.
“This Bill implements our Safer Sooner reforms announced in September 2016, aimed at breaking the cycle of family violence and reducing the harm it causes those who suffer this abhorrent form of abuse,” says Ms Adams.
“These reforms are the beginning of a new integrated system but even on their own they have the potential to significantly reduce family violence. The new offences and changes to protection orders alone are expected to prevent around 2300 violent incidents every year.
“There is no quick or easy fix, and laws alone cannot solve our horrific rate of family violence. But they are a cornerstone element in how we respond to tackling family violence and this Government is motivated by the difference we can make for New Zealanders.”
A copy of the Bill can be found here.
Key provisions of the Bill include:getting help to those in need without them necessarily having to go to court ensuring all family violence is clearly identified and risk information is properly shared putting the safety of victims at the heart of bail decisions creating three new offences of strangulation, coercion to marry and assault on a family member making it easier to apply for a Protection Order, allowing others to apply on a victim’s behalf, and better providing for the rights of children under Protection Orders making evidence gathering in family violence cases easier for Police and less traumatic for victims wider range of programmes able to be ordered when a Protection Order is imposed making offending while on a Protection Order a specific aggravating factor in sentencing supporting an effective system of information sharing across all those dealing with family violence enabling the setting of codes of practice across the sector.
Police Minister Paula Bennett and Justice Minister Amy Adams have today announced $10 million for initiatives to improve Māori justice outcomes.
“It is well known that Māori are overrepresented at every stage in the criminal justice system. We’re not prepared to accept that continuing,” says Mrs Bennett.
“Tackling this issue is a priority for the justice sector which is why we have set aside $10 million of the Justice Sector Fund for initiatives that will improve outcomes for Māori in the justice system,” says Ms Adams.
The first initiative to be funded is a services hub which aims to prevent offending and reoffending. It will receive $4.73 million to deliver four new whānau-centred justice services, co-designed by the justice sector and Christchurch-based urban Māori organisation Ngā Maata Waka.
The services are:a program that aims to prevent at-risk young Māori from offending by assisting them to build positive whānau relationships and engage with their culture through activities such as kapa haka and te reo intensive mentoring for young people who have offended support for women in prison, their children and temporary caregivers support for young people to obtain driver licences.
“Police, with support from Corrections, will lead the delivery of these services in partnership with Ngā Hau E Whā marae. I’m hopeful that as the programmes start delivering results we’ll be able to develop further programmes for future iwi, Māori and justice sector services,” says Mrs Bennett.
The Justice Sector Fund assists projects that support the Government’s Better Public Service targets of reducing crime and reoffending, and allows agencies to trial new initiatives that deliver better results for New Zealanders.
Since its establishment in 2012, it has distributed $263 million of savings into 63 initiatives across the justice sector.