Better Public ServicesJohn Key Bill English Prime Minister Deputy Prime Minister
Delivering better public services continues to be one of the National-led Government’s four key priorities for this term. We understand that New Zealanders and their families expect the Government to spend their hard-earned taxes on the things that matter to them.
To do this, we set 10 specific measurable targets in 2012 that we expected our public service to achieve over four to five years to improve the lives of New Zealanders, particularly the most vulnerable.
This focus on results, and being accountable for achieving them, is changing the way the public service is thinking and operating.
It’s now starting to make a difference that improves the lives of New Zealanders.
In February 2015, we released our twice yearly update on the Better Public Service programme. We also announced we had extended or reset some of our original targets because we had already achieved them, or to better target support.
Reducing long-term welfare dependence
Our original aim
- Reduce the number of people continuously receiving working age benefits for more than 12 months by 30 per cent – from 78,000 to 55,000 by 2017.
Our new aim
- Reduce the number of people receiving main benefits by 25 per cent, from 295,000 people as at June 2014 to 220,000 as at June 2018, and reduce the long-term cost of benefit dependency by $13 billion by June 2018.
- In the year to December 2014, 4,789 people came off long-term JobSeeker Support benefits and into work, a decrease of 6.6 per cent, to a total of 67,982 people.
Supporting vulnerable children
- Increase participation in early childhood education so that in 2016, 98 per cent of children starting school will have participated in quality early childhood education (ECE).
- Increase infant immunisation rates so that 95 percent of eight-month-olds are fully immunised by December 2014 and this is maintained through to June 2017, and reduce the incidence of rheumatic fever by two thirds to 1.4 cases per 100,000 people by June 2017.
- Halt the 10-year rise in children experiencing physical abuse and reduce current numbers by 5 per cent by 2017.
- In the year to December 2014, the participation rate of children in ECE was up to 96.1 per cent – an overall increase of 0.4 percentage points from the previous year.
- Latest results show 93.5 per cent of eight-month-olds are fully immunised – an all-time high. While the result fell just short of the target, the target is extremely challenging and we will continue to strive to hit this ambitious goal.
- Rheumatic fever rates have dropped considerably. Latest figures show a 14 per cent decrease in first episode rheumatic fever hospitalisations since the target was introduced in 2012. However, rheumatic fever remains a significant issue for at-risk families – 153 children and young people went into hospital with their first attack of rheumatic fever in 2014, a rate of 3.4 cases per 100,000 people.
- The number of children who experienced substantiated physical abuse decreased by almost 200, or 5.6 per cent, over the 12 months to September 2014. The recent flattened trend appears to continue but it will need decline more steeply to achieve the 2017 target.
Boosting skills and employment
- 85 per cent of 18-year-olds will have achieved NCEA Level 2 or an equivalent qualification in 2017.
Our original aim
- 55 per cent of 25 to 34-year-olds will have a qualification at Level 4 or above in 2017.
Our new aim
- 60 per cent of 25 to 34-year-olds will have a qualification at Level 4 or above in 2018.
- The proportion of 18-year olds with NCEA Level 2 or equivalent qualification in 2013 was 78.6 per cent, up 4.3 percentage points in two years and up more than 10 percentage points since 2008. Current indications are the Government is on track to meet its target of 85 per cent of 18-year-olds achieving NCEA Level 2 by 2017 for the general population, but more needs to be done to lift Maori and Pasifika achievement rates.
- In the year to December, 54.9 per cent of 25 to 34-year-olds had higher qualifications (New Zealand Qualifications Framework Level 4 and above), up from 52.6 per cent in 2012. This target has now been reset to 60 per cent by 2018.
- By June 2017, reduce the re-offending rate by 25 per cent.
Our original aim
- By June 2017, reduce the crime rate by 15 per cent, reduce the violent crime rate by 20 per cent, reduce the youth crime rate by 25 per cent.
Our new aim
- By June 2017, reduce the violent crime rate by 20 per cent, and reduce the youth crime rate by 25 per cent and by 2018, reduce the total crime rate by 20 per cent.
- Since June 2011, the total crime rate has fallen 18 per cent – well surpassing our original target of 15 per cent – and youth crime is down 38 per cent.
- The violent crime rate is also down 11 per cent since June 2011, more than half-way to our target of 20 per cent.
- Reoffending is also down; the reoffending rate has fallen 10 per cent since June 2011 although there has been a slight loss of ground over the last two quarters of 2014.
- Crime is at a 35-year low and we have the opportunity to keep doing what works and finding new and innovative ways to prevent crime from occurring in the first place.
Improving interaction with Government
- Business costs from dealing with government will reduce by 25 per cent by 2017, through a year-on-year reduction in effort required to work with agencies.
- Government services to business will have similar key performance ratings as leading private sector firms by July 2017, and businesses will be able to contribute to this through an online feedback system from July 2013.
- An average of 70 per cent of New Zealanders' most common transactions with government will be completed in a digital environment by 2017 – up from a 29.9 per cent baseline.
- The World Bank indicates that New Zealand is now ranked second out of 189 countries for the ease of doing business.
- Work continues to make it easier for businesses to interact with the government. A single unique number for every business and a range of new services that reduce the need for businesses to provide the same information twice are just some of the ways that government is working to make it easier for businesses to interact with government agencies.
- New Zealanders are doing more of their government transactions digitally, as at December 2014 an average of 46.3 per cent of measured government service transactions were digital – up from 30.4 per cent in June 2012.