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Budget focuses on better public service results

Hon Bill English

Minister of Finance

24 May 2012

Budget focuses on better public service results

Budget 2012 includes further steps towards an innovative, efficient public sector delivering better results for New Zealanders within tight financial constraints, Finance Minister Bill English says.

“This Government is focused on getting better results, rather than just increasing inputs. It’s time to measure success by better outcomes, rather than by how much extra money we are spending, as was the case for much of the 2000s,” Mr English says.

“Two months ago, the Prime Minister set 10 challenging and specific results for the public service to achieve over the next three to five years, including difficult issues like reducing crime, reducing long-term welfare dependency, and reducing educational under-achievement.

“We’ve already announced one of the results targets – 85 per cent of 18-year-olds having NCEA Level 2 or equivalent in five years – and we are announcing more as part of Budget 2012.”

The targets are:

• Reducing prisoner reoffending by 25 per cent by 2017. Reaching this target would mean 18,500 fewer victims of crime every year.
• Increasing the rate of participation in early childhood education to 98 per cent by 2016, from 94.7 per cent currently.

“Achieving these results will be demanding and difficult, but we are determined to get better results for taxpayers and the users of government services,” Mr English says. “The other results targets will be announced by 30 June.

“Progress towards achieving these targets will be reported publicly so New Zealanders can judge for themselves how well we are doing.

“This is a fundamental shift that requires different thinking. We are not a government that thinks spending more money on something is an end in itself. We are a government that thinks getting results is what’s really important.

“If a programme can get results, we are much more likely to spend money on it. If it doesn’t contribute to better results, we are much more likely to reduce spending on it,” Mr English says.

Despite tight financial constraints, Budget 2012 contains a number of initiatives and decisions aimed at improving frontline public services and getting real results for New Zealanders, including:

• A $287.5 million up-front investment over the next four years in the first phase of the Government’s welfare reforms, which provide more support to help people off welfare and into work. These changes are expected to reduce an individual’s likelihood of becoming long-term welfare dependent.
• $65 million over the next four years, reprioritised from within the Department of Corrections, to boost prisoner rehabilitation and reintegration programmes and to support the Government’s target of reducing reoffending by 25 per cent by 2017.
• Almost $1.5 billion of new funding over the next four years for health initiatives, including faster cancer treatment, more elective surgery, and strengthened maternity and disability services.
• $511.9 million over the next four years, and some additional funding set aside in contingency, for new education initiatives. This includes supporting the development of quality teachers and principals, and targeting additional ECE funding where it is most needed.

“In many cases, new initiatives have been paid for by reprioritising funding from lower priority activities, consistent with the approach we have taken in previous Budgets to improve frontline services and get better results with little or no new money,” Mr English says.

The Government’s 10 public service results

The Government has set 10 key results for the next three to five years. Specific and measurable targets will underpin each result area. Three of these have been agreed and the other seven will be finalised by 30 June.

The 10 results areas are:

Reducing long-term welfare dependency

1. Reduce the number of people who have been on a working age benefit for more than 12 months.

(Lead Minister: Paula Bennett and Lead CE: Ministry of Social Development chief executive Brendan Boyle).

Supporting vulnerable children

2. Increase participation in early childhood education.

Specific target: Increase the ECE participation rate to 98 per cent by 2016, up from 94.7 per cent now.

(Lead Ministers: Tony Ryall and Hekia Parata and Lead CE: Ministry of Social Development chief executive Brendan Boyle, supported by Ministry of Education chief executive Lesley Longstone).

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

(Lead Minister: Tony Ryall and Lead CE: Ministry of Social Development chief executive Brendan Boyle, supported by Ministry of Health Director-General Kevin Woods).

4. Reduce the number of assaults on children.

(Lead Ministers: Tony Ryall and Paula Bennett and Lead CE: Ministry of Social Development chief executive Brendan Boyle).

Boosting skills and employment

5. Increase the proportion of 18-year-olds with NCEA Level 2 or equivalent qualification.

Specific target: Increase the proportion of 18-year-olds with NCEA Level 2 to 85 per cent by 2017, up from around 68 per cent now.

(Lead Minister: Hekia Parata and Lead CE: Ministry of Education chief executive Lesley Longstone).

6. Increase the proportion of 25 to 34-year-olds with advanced trade qualifications, diplomas and degrees (at level 4 or above).

(Lead Minister: Steven Joyce and Lead CE: Ministry of Education chief executive Lesley Longstone).

Reducing crime

7. Reduce the rates of total crime, violent crime and youth crime.

8. Reduce re-offending.

Specific target: Reduce prisoner reoffending by 25 per cent by 2017 (which will reduce the annual reconviction rate from 30.4 per cent to 22.8 per cent and the annual re-imprisonment rate from 27.1 per cent to 20.3 per cent).

(Lead Minister: Judith Collins and Lead CE: Ministry of Justice chief executive Andrew Bridgman).

Improving interaction with government

9. New Zealand businesses have a one-stop online shop for all government advice and support they need to run and grow their business.

(Lead Minister: Steven Joyce and Lead CE: Ministry of Economic Development chief executive David Smol).

10. New Zealanders can complete their transactions with government easily in a digital environment.

(Lead Minister: Chris Tremain and Lead CE: Department of Internal Affairs chief executive Colin MacDonald.


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