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2004 Budget A Big Help To Many Manukau Families

14 July 2004

2004 Budget A Big Help To Many Manukau Families

This year's Budget will be a great help to many low income and struggling Manukau families, boost the local economy by around $160 million dollars and create 1300 new jobs, new Manukau City Council research indicates.

It also has the potential to reduce overcrowding and financial hardship, improve health and provide better learning and life enjoying opportunities for tens of thousands of families.

The 2004/5 Budget announced on May 27 contained big increases in spending on health, education, law and order and economic development. The cornerstone of the new spending is the Working for Families package of $1.1 billion per year when fully in place by 2007/8.

The package aims at ensuring children in low to middle income families, especially struggling working families, get a good start in life. That includes changes which ensure that getting into work is a financial step forward for these families.

New spending for economic development is likely to foster growth of businesses producing high value produces and services in Manukau, attract hi-tech investment and enable Manukau firms with export potential to break into new markets. However not all businesses can benefit directly.

The community impacts of the Budget on Manukau will include:

" 20,000 households renting privately will each receive an additional $25 per week on average in new supplements. This will reduce crowding, and lead to lesser health and other social risks because these families will have more money due in their pockets due to lower renting costs. In total, they will have an extra $25 million a year city-wide.

" About 22,000 families will receive an extra $32 on average per week in additional support.

" Up to 3,000 students will benefit from an expansion of the student allowance scheme.

" Extra spending on early childhood education will bring around $30 million into the city over 4 years. It will also introduce new opportunities and income for parents and allow many more children to be better prepared for school.

" New industry training initiatives will increase skill levels for hundreds of workers.

" Unemployed teenagers will get help moving into training or work through extra assistance for 15 -19 year olds, many of whom will be helped by the expanded apprenticeships programme.

" Unemployment will reduce overall due to specific funding and training initiatives as well as through boosts to the local economy.

Mayor Sir Barry Curtis says overall the Budget measures will mean a substantial improvement in health, opportunity and lifestyle for many families in Manukau.

"All this new spending targets the people who need it most. But measures such as building a new police station in Wiri will also be good for local businesses.

"I am particularly pleased that the government is determined to help more people improve their work skills and allow them the chance of a better future by keeping in touch with the job market. There'll be more jobs available but there'll also be a strong incentive for people who are temporarily on benefits to retain or improve their work skills and job-readiness.

"All of these goals are also the same goals we have targeted in our ten-year plan for the city, Tomorrow's Manukau. It's wonderful to see that the government is in sync with what the Council is aiming to achieve."

ENDS

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