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Budget 2006 Theme 2 - Families, Young and Old

Families, Young and Old

It is vital that all families, young and old, enjoy more opportunity and security and share in the progress New Zealand is making.

Budget 2006 confirms that the Labour-led government has the policies to achieve these goals. Over the next four years the government will spend an additional $5.8 billion of operating expenditure and an additional $460 million in capital expenditure under the Families theme.

Health represents our biggest investment in families, with $10.6 billion to be spent in the health sector in total this coming year – $931 million more than in the current year and $4.2 billion more than in 2000/01. This means hospitals are treating more people, we can pay health sector workers fair salaries, and we can introduce programmes like the Primary Health Organisations, which bring more affordable primary health care to every New Zealander.

Education is the basis for building a knowledge economy and New Zealanders need access to relevant, quality education. Our education system must give every child the opportunity to reach their full potential.

We want all New Zealanders to grow up in safe and secure families and communities. That's why Budget 2006 provides additional funding for the first 400 of the 1000 more frontline police officers and 250 non-sworn staff.

There is also an extra $68.8 million over the next four years for programmes to help reduce violence. Initiatives target disruptive behaviour in schools and at risk youth and there's extra support for community organisations working with victims.

By targeting tax relief where it's needed most - to those facing the costs of raising children - we are able to deliver substantial gains to families. Budget 2006 extends Working for Families to another 85,000 families and raises the amount of tax relief for other families. Three quarters of working families with children will now get significant increases in their weekly pay.

All New Zealanders should have the opportunity to have quality jobs that contribute to New Zealand's economic growth. Since December 1999 313,000 New Zealanders have secured jobs, benefit numbers are at their lowest in 20 years, and we have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the OECD.

Our ongoing reform of the welfare system is actively supporting even more people into work. We are funding an in-work payment to ensure the move from a benefit to work is always financially worthwhile. Older New Zealanders will also be supported by ensuring the married couple rate of superannuation is over 66 per cent of the net average ordinary time weekly wage.

Budget 2006 underlines the Labour-led government's progress in building stronger communities and supporting the aspirations of hard working Kiwi families. We want them to have every opportunity to give their children the best possible start in life.

Families – major initiatives Budget 2006*

• $3 billion ($750 million per year). This includes:
o $126 million for home-based support services and residential care for older New Zealanders
o $80.4 child health package
o $76 million to fight obesity.

Working for Families
• $1.85 billion to extend Working for Families to another 85,000 families.

• $361 million to provide more teachers and resources. This includes funding for 455 teachers for primary and special schools, and $33 million so schools have access to the latest technology to transform the learning experience
• $149 million of capital funding to improve school properties in 2006/07.

Safer families and communities
• $164.3 million of operating and 52.3 million in capital funding for the first tranche of the 1000 sworn, frontline police staff and 250 non-sworn police staff. The total cost of this package is expected to be more than $500 million
• $64.3 million in operating funding and $4.5 million of new capital funding over the next two years for programmes to help reduce violence.

*All over four years unless specified.

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