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United Future’s focus on families pays dividends

Thursday, 19 May 2005

Turner: United Future’s focus on families pays dividends

United Future has its fingerprints all over the family aspects of today’s Budget, particularly the strong moves in the direction of early intervention and family assistance, the party’s deputy leader, Judy Turner, said today.

“We’re delighted with the overall direction, but also many of the specifics in the Budget that have come as a direct result of consistent lobbying of the Government by United Future,” she said.

Among the most significant gains were:

· Expansion of Family Start to provide advice and support services to an additional 300 high needs families in rural communities ($6.2 million)

· Study awards to increase the qualifications of Family Start workers ($4.2 million)
· Pilot Parenting Support Service which will provide practical support and advice for parents with young children ($2.1 million)

· New services for children who witness family violence ($12 million previously announced)
· Improved access to Early Childhood Education for children in Family Start families ($8.4 million)
· Providing parent education and information programmes through the Family Court and piloting ECE centre-based parent education ($10.8 million)

· Continuation of the Families Innovation Fund for regional and local initiatives to support community-based programmes ($1.8 million)

· Increased paid hours of work for Strengthening Families coordinators from 25 to 30 ($2.3 million).

“We’ve pushed hard in these areas and we are delighted to have secured strong backing for a more family-focused approach from government.

“These are the kind of changes and commitments that help shape society for the better, and by putting the family at the centre of New Zealand politics, United Future is delighted to be instrumental in building a better New Zealand,” Mrs Turner said.

United Future also obtained addition scholarships for those training in social work and mental health areas to the tune of $5.4 million.

“There has been a lot of recent focus on upskilling current workers, but as important as that it, there simply need to be greater numbers and United Future has consistently pushed for that.

“These additional scholarship are a step towards meeting the nation’s future needs,” she said.

United Future had already been instrumental in securing the extension of paid parental leave to the self-employed.

“Overall, we have put the pressure on the Government and achieved a number of very substantial pro-family initiatives and changes that can only benefit New Zealand as a whole. From the family perspective, we have worked constructively across some key areas and have put real runs on the board,” Mrs Turner said.


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