Verve Article - April 2016

Friday, April 1, 2016

Getting results from Government investment

March seems to be the month for local school fairs. Just about every weekend there is a fair offering an afternoon of plate smashing, water slides and sausage sizzles. I for one enjoy taking my kids along to attend these great community events.

This past weekend we attended the Mt Eden Normal School fair. I was struck by the way parents and kids alike were getting into the community spirit: having a fun day while raising extra funds for the school.

In a perfect world the government should have all the money it needs for our schools. But the reality is governments, like households, still have to juggle competing funding priorities.

We spend 70 billion taxpayer dollars on public services each year. As well as education this includes vital spending on health, infrastructure, justice, and welfare.

In 2012 Prime Minister John Key made a commitment to addressing these difficult issues by setting 10 clear, measurable goals challenging the public service to get better results from taxpayers’ money.

These targets are called the Better Public Service (BPS) targets. They help to keep myself and my ministerial colleagues, along with our agencies disciplined and focused with our expenditure.

We are the first administration to set public targets to be measured against, and our progress is reported every 6 months.

The latest results show that more young New Zealanders than ever before are entering adulthood with the skills and tools they need to succeed.

Provisional 2015 NCEA Level 2 achievement results show the proportion of 18-year-olds who achieved a NCEA Level 2 qualification has increased to 84.4 percent, from 74.3 percent in 2011. This result is almost two years ahead of target.

These results mean happier children, who are better prepared for life.

The number of benefit recipients has also decreased by 7,245 in a year largely driven by decreases in Sole Parent Support. This represents parents moving into work and training to make a better life for their family.

Our targets encourage the public service sector to find long-term solutions by working with vulnerable people to find out what really makes a real difference.

These results belong to us all. Behind the numbers are real New Zealand families living better lives.

The latest update confirms our approach is working. We are making true progress on challenging issues and will continue to deliver more effective and productive services.