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Social sector makes gains in BPS targets

Hon Tony Ryall

Minister of Health

Hon Hekia Parata

Minister of Education

Hon Paula Bennett

Minister of Social Development

21 July 2014 Media Statement
Social sector makes gains in BPS targets

Results released today show good progress is being made to achieve the Government’s Better Public Services targets, say social sector Ministers Tony Ryall, Paula Bennett and Hekia Parata.

“This National-led Government is committed to ensuring New Zealand children are getting a better start in life,” Health Minister Tony Ryall says.

“We all need to work together to support children, young people and their families and the Better Public Services targets help us do this,” says Social Development Minister Paula Bennett.

Result 2: Increase participation in quality early childhood education

“Participation in early childhood education (ECE) for children starting school has continued to increase,” says Education Minister Hekia Parata.

“As recently announced, for the year ending 30 March 2014, the participation rate is 95.9 per cent – up 0.4 percentage points on the same time last year and represents another 3,839 kids since mid-2011.

“We are committed to continuing all efforts to ensure by 2016, 98 per cent of all new school entrants will have been in ECE because we know that regular participation in quality ECE significantly increases a child’s chance of future educational success.

“In Budget 2014, we invested a further $156 million over four years in ECE, which means Government spending on ECE has almost doubled, from over $800 million in 2007/08 to $1.5 billion in 2013/14,” says Ms Parata.

Results 3: Increase infant immunisation rates and reduce the incidence of rheumatic fever

“Children are most vulnerable to infectious diseases between three and eighteen months of age and results released today show 91 per cent of eight-month-olds are fully immunised,” says Mr Ryall.

“GPs, nurses, midwives, immunisation providers and others who support and promote vaccination are working hard to reach 95 per cent by December 2014 and ensure babies are immunised on time and better protected from childhood diseases like whooping cough and measles.

“Rheumatic remains a significant issue for at-risk families – 194 children and young people went into hospital with their first attack of rheumatic fever in 2013. Today’s results show that while rates for Maori have stabilised, there has been increase in rheumatic fever cases for Pacific people.

“The increasing profile of rheumatic fever is raising awareness with families and health professionals, and as a result more cases of rheumatic fever are being identified and treated.

“Reducing rheumatic fever is a priority for this Government. That’s why we have invested more than $65 million over six years to combat this preventable illness,” says Mr Ryall

Result 4: Reduce the number of assaults on children

“We appear to be turning a corner on the seemingly inevitable year-on-year rise in substantiated assaults on children,” says Mrs Bennett.

“Nevertheless the downward trend of 2 per cent from last year needs to decline more steeply to achieve the Better Public Service target to reduce physical assaults on children by 5 per cent by June 2017,

“Identifying and protecting children from abuse requires people to take a stand and notify authorities.

“New Zealanders are becoming increasingly intolerant of abuse and neglect in their communities, and the more people willing to report their concerns, the more chances we have to keep our children safe and protected.

“Key programmes, such as the Children’s Action Plan, are still in the early stages, but with over 30 specific measures in the plan designed to prevent abuse and neglect, it will make a real difference in reducing child abuse in this country,” says Mrs Bennett.

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