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Budget invests in young New Zealanders

Hon Nanaia Mahuta
Minister of Youth Affairs


Media statement
18 May 2007

Budget invests in young New Zealanders

Budget 2007 shows this Labour-led government's continued commitment and investment in young New Zealanders says Youth Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta.

"Improving the lives of young New Zealanders today is important, but it is also critical that we invest in their future to ensure that they are able to reach their full potential. After all, they are the future innovators, employers, employees, parents and leaders of our community and our economy," says Nanaia Mahuta.

"In Budget 2007, we're continuing to make important investments in the education and skills of young New Zealanders. We're investing over half a billion dollars in schools, industry training, tertiary education and other initiatives over the next 4 years.

"We've also expanded allowances and scholarships for an extra 12,000 students, primarily from low-income backgrounds to make tertiary education and training more affordable.

"We're investing in the physical, mental and sexual health of young New Zealanders. There are funding initiatives to tackle obesity, improve sexual health education, and a range of suicide prevention initiatives, as well as a social marketing campaign on the risks of drug taking.

"The budget provides additional support for the community and voluntary sector organisations which play a critical role in supporting young people and their families – totalling more than $85.4 million over the next four years."

The Minister said the government is continuing its coordinated approach to youth development and is working closely with the agencies and organisations that have an important influence on the lives of young people, such as schools, local councils, voluntary organisations and the social and youth work sectors.

"I'm enormously proud of the investment this government is making in young New Zealanders," she said.

Budget 2007 builds on the investments made in Budget 2006, which focused on improving the lives of young New Zealanders by promoting healthy lifestyles, strengthening and supporting youth workers and making positive changes in the tertiary education sector.

Contact: Hazel Dobbie, Press Secretary, (04) 470 6627, 021 227 6627


Further information

Key initiatives in Budget 2007 for young New Zealanders include:

Community and Voluntary Sector
The Government will support community organisations that play a role in supporting young people with:

· Funding of $20.4 million over the next two years will help community organisations deliver services that support New Zealand's children, young people and their families.

· A further $2 million for the training and support of people working to prevent family violence in Māori whānau and communities.

· The rebate threshold of $1890 on charitable donations has been removed, to reward and encourage more charitable giving.

Health
The health of young New Zealanders is being promoted through:

· A four-year investment of $124.2 million in child and youth health to prevent ill health and disability.

· An additional $8.4 million over four years so newborns and young adults will have better access to cochlear implants, to ensure they can lead as normal a life as possible.

· Providing $23.1 million over four years to support a range of suicide prevention initiatives as part of the implementation of the New Zealand Suicide Prevention Strategy, launched last year.

· Providing $13.2 million over four years to support sexual health education and reducing sexually transmitted infections.

· Investing of $5.9 million over the next four years for a social marketing campaign to raise awareness of the risks of taking drugs and an online drug evidence database that will back it up.

Education
Budget 2007 delivers:
· Improved schools - $238.3 million of capital funding for school property includes building 14 new schools, 180 new classrooms and 10 new school gyms, modernising existing schools and development for kura and wharekura.

· Increase in school operational funding - up 4%, with $233,000 in 2006/07 and a further $139.8 million over the next four years to target pressures identified in the review of operational funding, and other initiatives including relief teachers and schools sharing IT expertise.

· A further $17.4 million over the next five years in out of school services, to give parents more support through care and recreation services for school-age children and young people.

· Investing $50.7 million in schools over the next four years to implement the Healthy Eating, Healthy Action (HEHA) plan, to reduce obesity, diabetes and related diseases.

· Contributing nearly $2.6 million over the next year to social work services for the nine secondary schools involved in the AIMHI Health Community Schools project.

Tertiary education & training
Budget 2007 expands allowances and scholarships for an extra 12,000 students, primarily from low-income backgrounds. The measures announced include:

· The parental income threshold for entitlement to a full student allowance will increase by 10 per cent, to around $44,330 per annum, from 1 January 2008. The budget will provide $16.2 million in operating funding over four years for this initiative.

· The student allowance personal income abatement threshold will be adjusted for inflation each year. This initiative will be introduced from 1 April 2008, and will maintain the real value of personal and couple income thresholds.

· The Step Up Scholarship pilot will be expanded and redesigned to increase access for students from low-income backgrounds, costing $11.4 million over four years. This will provide another 180 scholarships, an increase of 50%.

· The Ngārimu Scholarship fund will be strengthened in order to assist Māori leadership at a cost of $595,000 over four years.

· Budget 2007 sets aside $285.1 million of operating funding over four years (and $79.7 million of capital funding over four years) to enable the tertiary system to better fulfil New Zealand's needs, and at the same time provide better value for money for taxpayers and students.

· The Government is continuing to invest in tertiary education and training to make tertiary education more affordable. Budget 2007 increases industry training by $53 million over the next four years, and aims to increase the numbers in industry training to 220,000 in training annually by 2011.

· Funding over the next two years, to develop and implement a national assessment tool for adult literacy, numeracy and language.


Youth Development
The Government is helping young people who are at risk of not achieving their full potential.

· A further $700,000 over the next year to support the Turn Your Life Around (TYLA) and Project K mentoring programmes for young people.

Youth Justice
The Government is investing in a strong youth justice system by:

· Providing $1.4 million over the next year for intensive intervention programmes for the most serious and dangerous youth offenders to address the causes of the criminal behaviour, reduce re-offending by this group and keep young people out of prison.

· Providing $1.3 million over the next year in the Supported Bail Programme for young people on remand from the Youth Court to ensure they comply with their bail conditions through one-on-one case management and individual supervised day programmes.

· Providing $1.5 million over the next year for Multi-Agency Support Services in Secondary Schools (MASSiS).

· Providing $3.4 million over the next four years to boost support for schools dealing with gang issues in Counties Manukau.

Sport and Recreation
The Government is investing more than $11.1 million for programmes in the coming year targeting children and young people as part of Sport and Recreation New Zealand's (SPARC) contribution to the government's ongoing $67.0 million four-year Mission-On initiative. Investments include:

· A $666,000 increase in direct athlete support through the Performance Enhancement Grants scheme to $4.2 million for 2007/08.

· A doubling of SPARC's regional sports development funding to more than $2.8 million in 2007/08.


ENDS

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