National will re-invest $24 million over 10 years in Gisborne’s road network to support strong growth in the district’s forestry sector, Economic Development and Transport spokesperson Simon Bridges says.
“National is committed to delivering the infrastructure our regions need to support the growing economy. That’s why we are accelerating a package of work to upgrade and maintain the districts roads to help ensure our regions continue to thrive,” Mr Bridges says.
“We’ve made great progress in the Gisborne District recently through the establishment of Tairawhiti Roads, a joint venture between the Gisborne District Council and the New Zealand Transport Agency that looks after both the local and State Highway network in Gisborne.
“The joint venture is delivering savings of around $3.3 million per year for NZTA and the Council through better management of the regions roads. National will direct NZTA to reinvest its share of those savings - $24 million over 10 years – back into improving the roading network in Gisborne.”
East Coast MP Anne Tolley says the strong growth of the forestry sector, supporting local jobs and higher incomes, has driven a significant increase in the number of heavy vehicles on Gisborne’s local and State highway networks.
“Export log volumes through Eastland Port have grown from a couple of hundred thousand tonnes in 2007 to almost 3 million tonnes now. This trend is expected to continue with the forestry sector forecast to grow further over the next few years, creating 630 new jobs in the region,” Mrs Tolley says.
“National will ensure the right infrastructure is in place to support this exponential growth.
“NZTA will work with the Gisborne District Council to use the reinvested $24 million to upgrade selected rural roads to take the heavy vehicles used by the forestry sector.”
Mr Bridges says logging is a key part of the Gisborne economy, and National will ensure the region has the roading infrastructure needed to support the growth of that industry.
“Earlier this year the National-led Government released the Tairawhiti Economic Action Plan. Tairawhiti’s forestry production was identified as an opportunity for growth because the sector is not only one of the largest contributors to the community but because it contributes 14 per cent of New Zealand’s log exports,” Mr Bridges says
“I’m delighted that a re-elected National-led Government will be step in to provide the district with the roading network we need and deserve to support further growth”, Ms Tolley says.
A strong economy under National means more work training, rehabilitation & 1-on-1 support for young jobseekers.
Today, we announced that National will invest a further $72 million to help young New Zealanders on a government benefit move into work to ensure they can stand on their own two feet and reach their potential.
The majority of young Kiwis are doing incredibly well. They’re creating real opportunities for themselves and for New Zealand through hard work and a commitment to doing better.But some young people on a benefit need more support to get into work and to ensure they can stand on their own two feet – we’ll invest more to help them.
So what are we doing?
A National-led government will invest an extra $72 million over the next four years to support beneficiaries under 25 years of age in a number of ways.
We’ll guarantee work experience or training for those who have been on a jobseekers benefit for six months or longer. These will be specifically designed to get them ready for work.
We’ll also help them with financial management training to help them develop financial responsibility.
One in five beneficiaries tell us that drug use is a barrier to them getting a job. That’s why we’ll provide greater drug rehabilitation services for those that need it, to help them to kick drug use and get work ready.
Our approach will also ensure all young people under 25 who are on a job seekers benefit receive intensive one-on-one case management to help them get a job.
We want to invest early, and give young people individual support so they can develop the skills they need to move into the workforce.
This extra support also comes with obligations and personal responsibilities, so all beneficiaries take their own steps to move in to work and improve their lives.
Job seekers without children who refuse to participate in work experience or training or drug rehabilitation will lose 50 per cent of their benefit entitlement after four weeks of not meeting their obligations.
We know measures like this are effective in helping people into work, and once individuals decide to meet their obligations, full benefits will be reinstated.
A strong economy under National means more job opportunities and support for young Kiwis who need it the most.
We’re investing in them and helping them to take greater control of their own lives.
National will help more young people become drug free, move off the benefit and get a job to help ensure they reach their potential.
“Most of our young people are doing incredibly well. There are more job opportunities and more support than ever in our country, as a result of our strong economic growth,” Social Development Spokesperson Anne Tolley says.
“But some young people on a benefit need more support. National is committed to helping them into work to ensure they can stand on their own two feet.”
National will invest $72 million over the next four years to support beneficiaries under 25 years of age by:
- Guaranteeing work experience or training for those who have been on a jobseekers benefit for six months or longer, and financial management training to help them develop financial responsibility
- Providing rehabilitation services if drug use is identified as a barrier to employment
- Ensuring all young people under 25 who are on a job seekers benefit receive intensive one-on-one case management to get a job.
“Only 10 per cent of young people who go on a jobseekers benefit stay for more than six months – but for those that do, their average time on benefit is almost 10 years,” Mrs Tolley says. “We want to invest early, and give them one on one support so they can develop the skills they need to move into the workforce.
“We will guarantee them access to work experience or training courses designed specifically to get them ready for work.
“In addition, one in five beneficiaries tell us that drug use is a barrier to them getting a job - so we are increasing the support we give them to kick drug use and get work ready.”
National will also place obligations on those who do not take up the significant opportunities available in New Zealand to start work or training.
Job seekers without children who refuse work experience or training or recreational drug rehabilitation will lose 50 per cent of their benefit entitlement after four weeks of not meeting their obligations, with further reductions if that continues. This will also apply to those who continue to fail recreational drug tests, where these are requested by prospective employers.
The lower benefit payments will only be able to be used for essential needs such as rent and food – like we currently do with our Money Management programme for 16 to 19 year olds.
“This significant extra support we are announcing today will come with obligations and personal responsibilities, so those who won’t take the opportunities available to them will lose all or part of their benefit until they take steps to turn their lives around.
“We know benefit sanctions are an effective tool to help people into work, as 95 per cent of people who receive a formal warning meet their obligations within four weeks.”
Any benefit reductions will be made at the discretion of WINZ staff, to take account of individual circumstances. And once individuals decide to meet their obligations, benefits will be reinstated.
“New Zealanders are creating real opportunities for themselves and for New Zealand, through hard work and a commitment to doing better. National supports those efforts and is focused on helping all New Zealanders get ahead, even our most vulnerable,” Mrs Tolley says.
National will roll out the changes from 1 July next year
A re-elected National Government will introduce tougher and more consistent freedom camping rules that will protect public spaces and crack down on poor behaviour, Paula Bennett and Anne Tolley say.
“Lots of Kiwis and many of our international visitors love to camp, and they make a large contribution to our tourism industry,” Tourism Spokesperson Paula Bennett says.
“Freedom campers stay longer and spend more on average than other visitors, but there are now a lot more people freedom camping than there used to be and a small minority don’t treat our roadsides and public spaces with adequate respect.
“Local councils have been asking the government to create more consistent rules and to help them penalise those who break these rules.”
- Restrict all non self-contained vehicles to areas that are within easy walking distance – approximately 200 metres – of toilet facilities
- Continue to allow Councils and the Department of Conservation to ban all freedom camping from certain areas, and extend these powers to LINZ and the NZTA to ensure Crown-owned land can also be restricted. The areas could be as small as a certain street or as large as a whole town centre
- Allow Councils and the Department of Conservation to issue instant fines for those who break the rules. If the fine can’t be paid on the spot, it will be assigned to the vehicle owner, including rental car companies
“We will also create a new smartphone app to show exactly where people can and cannot camp, and ensure consistent public signage across the country to ensure freedom campers know their rights and responsibilities,” Local Government Spokesperson Anne Tolley says.
“Our changes will not affect trampers, campers and hunters who enjoy our back country areas as they are not considered freedom campers.
“We want responsible campers to continue enjoying the best of what New Zealand has to offer and add to the $380 million a year they currently spend in our regions.
“These sensible changes, which build on those we made ahead of the Rugby World Cup in 2011, will make the rules much easier to follow, and will still give Councils the flexibility to make rules that suit their communities alongside a simple way to punish those who break the rules with bad behaviour.”
Minister for Children Anne Tolley says a new trial will start next week for direct purchasing and brokerage of services for children and young people in care or at risk of coming into care.
“Budget 2017 invests $6.3 million to set up an Access to Services trial to ensure that vulnerable children and young people in care get timely access to the range of services that they need,” says Mrs Tolley.
“Currently Gateway assessments, which provide detailed information on a child or young person’s needs, do not always result in children or young people getting access to all the assessments and services they need.
“The Access to Services trial will strengthen the Gateway assessment process to ensure the assessments more comprehensively cover health, social, emotional, education and care needs, and that referrals are made to the right services at the right time.
“When services are not available or cannot be accessed in a timely way, then the team will be able to purchase the service directly from the provider.”
The trial starts in Waitemata DHB and Bay of Plenty DHB, with a third DHB to be confirmed. It will work with around 800 vulnerable children and young people in care or at risk of coming into care over the next 18 months.
A Ministry representative will be attached to the Gateway assessment team and will work with the assessment coordinator and social worker to facilitate access to services from the DHB, Ministry of Education, or Government funded providers and NGOs.
Last week the Government announced details of the $100 million social investment fund for mental health, including $4 million to enhance the capacity of Gateway teams by including mental health specialists. The trial is expected to start in early 2018 in Waitemata DHB and Bay of Plenty DHB.
Minister for Children Anne Tolley says the Government is funding two new feedback and complaints systems within the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki.
“Budget 2017 invests $11.79 million to support the development and implementation of more effective, timely and child-centred feedback and complaints systems,” says Mrs Tolley.
“The existing complaints processes and systems are no longer fit for purpose. Our Youth Advisory Panels told us that they are complex and not easily accessible or focused on children and young people.
“We need better systems in place so children and young people can easily share their concerns and provide feedback. We also want to more effectively resolve any concerns that are raised, and ensure that insights gained are used to improve how we support and care for young people.
“A procurement process will begin shortly for a software system which will capture complaints from children and young people and Ministry staff, enabling the Ministry to analyse data and improve how services are delivered. It’s expected that the new system will be up and running in early to mid-2018.
“The Ministry will also run a full trial of the UK developed ‘Mind of My Own’ app which enables young people to express their views and provide feedback on the services they receive.
“An initial trial of the app, which ran from April to June in two Auckland sites, highlighted many examples of how young people were able to give feedback, unfiltered by adults, when they were previously reluctant or unable to do so.”
The app can be used by young people to prepare for a Family Group Conference, during a statutory visit, to raise concerns, give positive feedback, or express how they feel. Young people can use it on their own or with a social worker or caregiver.
The trial is expected to run for at least six months before being evaluated.
Mandatory registration for social workers is a step closer today with the Bill passing its first reading in Parliament, says Minister for Social Development and Minister for Children Anne Tolley.
“The Social Workers Registration Legislation Bill will help to increase the status and professionalism of social workers,” says Mrs Tolley.
“Mandatory registration will ensure that all social workers are well equipped to deal with our most vulnerable New Zealanders. We want social workers to be able to focus more on early intervention and reducing preventable harm.
"As a result of this legislation, people will know that when they’re dealing with a social worker it’s someone who has been vetted by the Police, are subject to professional ethics, and undertake annual development as a condition of their practice.
“Importantly, social workers will be accountable for their practice. There will be processes in place to address any concerns, and any social workers who have their registration cancelled will not be able to practice again.”
The Bill will amend and update the Social Workers Registration Act 2003. It will restrict the use of the term ‘social worker’ to those who have proved they have the required qualifications, skills and experience.
Other changes to support mandatory registration include:Streamlining competency processes as part of professional development; Simplifying registration processes and clarifying the process to assess a person’s fitness to practice social work; Requiring employers to report serious misconduct and incompetence; Requiring social workers to report any suspicions or beliefs based on reasonable grounds that another social worker cannot perform their required functions due to a mental or physical condition; Aligning the complaints and disciplinary processes with similar regulatory regimes.
Of the current 6,300 social workers in New Zealand, it’s estimated that around 2,000 are unregistered. Of this group it’s expected that nearly 60 per cent (1,200) should be able to register using their qualifications, and another 300 should be able to register using their work experience.
The costs of these changes are expected to be modest, and more registrations will mean that the cost per social worker will decrease.
To ensure a smooth transition, the majority of the changes will be implemented within a two year period, making it easier for social workers who work for smaller NGOs or in range of settings including health and education.
This shift in professionalism supports the changes underway by the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki. There are a number of initiatives to streamline processes to enable social workers to spend more time with children and young people.
Homecare Medical has been awarded the contract to develop and operate the 24/7 national helpline for New Zealanders affected by sexual violence, say Justice Minister Amy Adams and Social Development Minister Anne Tolley.
“The Government is focused on developing a more sustainable and integrated national system to ensure victims of sexual violence get the support and services they need at the right time,” says Ms Adams.
“This free helpline will enable anyone who is affected by sexual violence to be given information, referred to local specialist services, and when required, provided with crisis counselling and support.”
“We want to better support victims of sexual violence through a long-term plan focusing on prevention, crisis and on-going support. It’s expected the helpline will initially provide support to around 10,000 victims a year,” says Mrs Tolley.
“The helpline will be rolled out in two phases with 24/7 phoneline services (including text/SMS and email) and a website available in December 2017, and online chat and social media services from March 2018.”
Budget 2016 invested $46 million to develop specialist sexual violence services to better support victims and prevent sexual violence.
The helpline is one of a number of initiatives under the work programme being led by the Ministerial Group on Family Violence and Sexual Violence.
Owned by ProCare and Pegasus Health, Homecare Medical runs the National Telehealth Service which delivers free health and mental health advice, support and information including Healthline, Need to talk? 1737, Quitline and other specialist services.
An evaluation of the Integrated Safety Response (ISR) pilot has confirmed that families are safer and better protected as a result of the pilot, say Justice Minister Amy Adams and Social Development Minister Anne Tolley.
The final evaluation report released today by Superu found that the level of seriousness and the frequency of family violence incidents reduced significantly in the six months after people came into contact with the pilot.
“This report confirms that the ISR pilot is helping to transform lives by significantly changing the way family violence is responded to,” says Ms Adams.
“Since the pilot began in Christchurch in July 2016 and the Waikato in October 2016, more than 30,000 people have been supported through the development of nearly 10,000 family safety plans.
“These plans help ensure that victims are safer and better protected, and perpetrators are better supported to stop hurting their loved ones.”
The final evaluation report proves that a collaborative multi-agency approach is what is needed to tackle New Zealand’s high rate of family violence.
“The report shows the ISR pilot is delivering on many of its core aims and is well-placed to achieve better outcomes for more families,” says Mrs Tolley.
“Key achievements highlighted in the report include improved information sharing, risk assessment and safety planning, as well as more families taking up offers of support.
“The report also identifies some issues for further development. Budget 2017 invests $22.4 million to extend the ISR pilots for two years which will enable us to address these issues before we look to roll out the ISR nationally.”
The final evaluation report is available here.
Minister for Children Anne Tolley says a new pilot which provides semi-independent accommodation and life skills for young people transitioning out of care will provide young people with more support.
“Young people in care have told us that they need options for where they can live as they transition out of care,” says Mrs Tolley.
“The Ministry is working in partnership with three providers in Auckland and Wellington to pilot a new supported living arrangement for young people.
“This pilot will help us to understand whether supported living as an effective option for providing transitional accommodation as well as support. It will also help us to build a greater understanding of what works and what doesn’t work.
“We want to help young people to develop the skills they need to lead successful lives. It’s important to ensure that when a young person leaves care, they are supported to reach their full potential.
“This pilot, which will run until June 2018, will help the Ministry to build a sustainable system which places young people front and centre. It will be evaluated and potentially expanded to more regions.”
The providers will be piloting safe semi-independent accommodation for young people aged 17 to 20 to support the development of life skills, and a more gradual transition from fully supported care to independent living.
The second stage of major reform to New Zealand’s care and protection system passed into law last month. It enables young people to remain or return to living with a caregiver until the age of 21, with transition support available up to age 25.