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Budget delivers for families

1 June 2004

Budget delivers for families

Both financial and practical support for families to bring up their children was provided in last Thursday’s Budget, Social Development and Employment Minister Steve Maharey said today.

Speaking at an event marking the fifth birthday of the Strengthening Families programme in Dunedin, Steve Maharey said the government believes parenting is society’s most important job. The centre-piece of the Budget – Working for Families – targets increased financial assistance to families with children to improve their standard of living and is in turn supplemented by a $75 million package of strong services for the times they need a little extra help with their core parenting role.

“The Budget clearly set out the government’s priorities – we stand with families and are investing heavily in them to raise the next generation of dependable adults.

“Working for Families will make a substantial difference to the lives of more than half the nation’s families. In all 61 per cent of families with children will benefit from the package by 2007.

“But the Budget also invests significant new resources into tried-and-true community-based programmes that provide the essential backstop when families are in difficulty.

“For example, the Family Start home visiting programme which supports families with very young children will expand from the 16 communities it currently operates in to 24 communities – taking it to at least another 2,200 families by 2007. We’re also employing a raft of new staff to expand the Social Workers in Schools programme from 220 to 330 low decile schools by 2007.

“I’m also pleased that we have been able to secure funding for a new programme which matches older skilled and experienced New Zealanders with young families who want to learn basic home skills. Some families do not have a grand-parent or older person around to pass on cooking, budgeting or DIY skills. This programme will initially match 2,000 of these families with a mentor to give them practical advice about ways to be an effective parent and home-maker,” Steve Maharey said.

ENDS

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