We want to improve the wellbeing of every single New Zealander. To do that, we have to think longer than just a three-year-term, and look at the things that really matter to Kiwis – like having a healthy place to live, enough money to raise a family, and a good future to look forward to.
This 1 July, we've made major progress on three key policies. Each one – from plastic bags, to parental leave, to healthy homes, guarantees a better life for New Zealanders now, and for future generations.
Plastic bags a thing of the past
You'll definitely have noticed plastic bags in your supermarkets and stores being replaced by reusable options. It's all been part of a phasing-out process, getting rid of single-use plastic bags for the benefit of our environment, our marine life, and our future generations. As of 1 July, the phase-out is complete! Getting rid of single-use plastic bags is another way we're making progress towards a cleaner, greener Aotearoa.
Pay bump for paid parental leave
Last year, we extended paid parental leave to 22 weeks, and committed to extending it to 26 weeks by 2020. Now, we're lifting the wellbeing of New Zealanders and their families further, by boosting the maximum weekly rate of paid parental leave by an extra $20 a week.
From 1 July, eligible people will see their parental leave payment boost from $564.38 a week to $585.80 a week, before tax. It's a welcome boost for families juggling the costs that come with parenting.
The minimum rate for self-employed people will also increase, to $177.00 per week, equal to 10 hours of the adult minimum wage.
Healthy Homes Guarantee in law
From 1 July healthy homes standards to make rental properties warmer and drier come into effect. That means: a central heat source, proper drainage, draught-stopping, and extractor fans in the kitchen. Everyone deserves a warm, dry, healthy place to call home – including the about one third of New Zealanders who rent.
Landlords will have three years to ensure new rental homes entering the market have adequate insulation, heating, draught stoppage, and ventilation. The phase-in is due to the capacity of industry to deliver.
These reforms are long overdue and about preventing 1,600 premature deaths every year of mainly elderly people in cold, damp homes and the hospitalisation of 6,000 children for housing-related illnesses.