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Government rolls out programme for the year

12 February 2008

Government rolls out programme for the year

Prime Minister Helen Clark has announced key priorities in the government’s substantial work programme in her annual Prime Minister’s Statement to Parliament.

“Our priorities this year include easing pressures on household budgets and giving children the best possible start at school and for life,” Helen Clark said.

“The government is signalling major funding increases in the critical area of social services, a detailed plan to improve the supply of affordable housing, greater rights for victims of crime, new initiatives targeting youth crime, and a programme of action to lift the skills of young people.

“We will roll out a programme of personal tax cuts in this year’s Budget, intervene early on health and behaviour issues through the B4 School checks, and work on implementation of our plan to lift the age of participation in school or other forms of education to eighteen.

“Significant funding increases will ensure that non-government organisations delivering essential services in areas such as parenting programmes, mentoring at-risk youth, in family violence prevention, and victim support, are funded for the full cost of their contracted services. Our new investment in these services will amount to $446 million over the next four years.

“A comprehensive plan to help families into home ownership by boosting the supply of affordable homes is also being developed. It includes a review of public land holdings to see which areas could contribute to new urban housing projects and what form of partnerships between central, regional, local government and the private sector could help deliver large scale urban housing projects. The shared equity scheme targeted at new builds for first home owners will start in July.

“We will develop a Charter of Victim’s Rights, and appoint an Advisory Board of eminent people to work with Justice Sector ministers to make the criminal justice system more effective. New government policy to deal with tagging will also be announced this week.

“For the past eight years the Labour-led government’s top priorities have been to strengthen the economy and improve the living standards of families. Today’s statement sets out our next steps,” Helen Clark said.

ENDS

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