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The state of our nation 1999-2007 – some facts

Hon Steve Maharey
Minister of Education

30 January 2007

The state of our nation 1999-2007 – some facts and examples

Living standards

* 61,000 children have been lifted out of poverty under Labour
* Child poverty rates fell from 27 to 21 per cent in the 3 years to 2004
* Working for Families is predicted to reduce child poverty by up to 70 percent
* Incomes for the poorest households have increased in real terms since 1999
* The cost of housing for people on low incomes has fallen dramatically - households spending more than a third of their income on housing fell from 42 percent in 2001 to 35 percent in 2004
* Working for Families means families earning less than $35,000 will effectively pay no tax by 2008

Unemployment
* New Zealand has achieved the lowest recorded unemployment since 1982 and the second lowest in the OECD
* We have the highest number of Kiwis ever in work at 2.1 million
* Long-term unemployment fell by 70 percent since 1999

Outcomes for Maori
* Median incomes for Maori increased by 24 percent in real terms between 2001 and 2006 – faster than for the population as a whole
* The number of Maori receiving the unemployment benefit dropped from 41,000 in 1999 to 15,000 in 2006 - a reduction of 64%.
* There has been a huge leap in the number of Maori earning more than $50,000 (from 14,850 in 2001 to 33,070 in 2006). The number of Maori earning less than $20,000 dropped by over 11% between 2001 and 2006.

Justice
* NZ has the lowest recorded crime rate in a generation
* Recorded crime has continued to decline from the early 1990s, from a peak of 1322 crimes per 10,000 population in 1992 to 994 in 2005.
* The number of murders has stayed roughly constant the past 10 years. The highest recorded number was in 1996.
* 1000 extra frontline police staff will be in place over the next three years.
* Emergency 111 targets are being met consistently.

Education
* The proportion of students going directly from school to tertiary education has increased from 45 per cent in 1998 to 57 per cent in 2004
* 57 percent of students achieved level 2 NCEA or better last year – up from an equivalent 37 percent in the mid 1990s under school certificate
* The number of students leaving with little or no formal attainment (13 or less credits) has fallen from 18.2% in 2002 to around 13% in 2005.
* Maori participation in tertiary education has increased at a faster rate than for the population as a whole
* 57,000 young kiwis are benefiting from the Fruit in Schools programme, offering access to fruit and teaching them and their families about nutrition
* Programmes are lifting literacy and numeracy standards in thousands of schools, for example, the Otara writing cluster which lifted writing levels in every participating school - year 4 to 8 students have gained nearly a year in addition to normal progress in reading comprehension
* Kiwi students at both primary and secondary level, continue to be among the best in the OECD in reading, mathematics and science.

Sport and communities
* Sport and recreation services received $58 million in 2006 compared to $2.5 million in 1999.
* Examples are "Sportfit", a programme that provides sport opportunities in secondary schools; "Active Schools" which aims to improve physical activity opportunities and experiences for primary school children; a volunteers strategy which is aimed at encouraging more volunteers in sport, and Coachcorp - a programme involving businesses.
* The competitive contracting model for NGOs has been replaced with a partnership model and funding has increased for community organisations

Health costs
* The cost of visiting a family doctor has fallen by half
* All New Zealand children now have access to free or low cost health care, extending to all NZers from 1 July

Child Youth and Family
* CYF is consistently meeting or exceeding performance targets for its most critical levels - unallocated cases have reduced from more than 3,000 in October 2004 down to 435 in October 2006.
* In the five years to 2003, 38 children under 15 years of age died as a result of maltreatment, a decline from 50 in the previous five-year period.
* Figures on child maltreatment deaths should be treated with caution because, in a small country like New Zealand, the very small numbers involved produce highly volatile rates.

ENDS

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