Over the past year, we’ve continued addressing the biggest issues facing New Zealand: COVID-19, child poverty, housing affordability, and climate change. There’s plenty to get on with in 2022, but – as the year comes to a close – we’re taking a moment to reflect on the progress we’ve made.
Here are just a few of our 2021 milestones.
More than 90% of eligible Kiwis fully vaccinated
Shot, New Zealand! People across the country stepped up to be vaccinated against COVID in record numbers. We’re entering 2022 with one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, providing extra layers of protection for those who can’t get vaccinated and allowing us to look ahead with greater certainty.
We’re building more new public housing than any government in decades. We’ve delivered almost 12,500 additional public and transitional housing places since 2017, with more than 2,200 of them added this year. We’re on track to reach our goal of providing a total of 18,350 additional public and transitional housing places by 2024, ensuring more families have a warm, dry place to call home.
An unemployment rate of 3.4%
We’re getting more Kiwis into jobs. Thanks to our infrastructure investments and initiatives like Mana in Mahi and Apprenticeship Boost, our unemployment rate has fallen to a record low. Treasury forecasts that 221,000 more people will be in work over the coming years as we continue to secure our recovery.
More than 175,000 people upskilled through free trades training
We’re ensuring we have the skilled workers we need to build back better, with tens of thousands of Kiwis taking up our free trades training in targeted areas and free apprenticeships. These training opportunities help more New Zealanders into meaningful careers, while also working to ensure we can build the housing, provide the services, and grow the crops we’ll need for the future.
We’re making it easier for Kiwis to switch to cleaner vehicles, helping to cut our carbon footprint. Thanks to our Clean Car Discount, more electric vehicles were registered in New Zealand in the past six months than in each of the past four years, with upward of 11,600 EVs and hybrids registered by November this year. It’s just one of the many ways we’re tackling our transport emissions to keep Aotearoa moving, sustainably.
A record 47,715 homes consented in the year to November
New Zealand’s housing crisis has been decades in the making, but we’re taking action to support first home buyers, encourage investment in new builds, grow our construction workforce, and get more homes built, faster. The record numbers of homes consented for eight consecutive months in 2021 is an encouraging sign that the measures we’ve taken to get more Kiwis into homes are starting to have an impact.
A GDP boost of almost $1 billion
We secured a historic free trade deal with the UK that will give Kiwi exporters unprecedented access to the UK market and accelerate our recovery from COVID-19. The deal, which substantially cuts costs for exporters and businesses, is projected to boost our economy by almost $1 billion. It’s also our first bilateral trade deal to include specific provisions on climate change, with agreements to tackle fossil fuel subsidies and over-fishing.
Flexi-wage helps businesses to take on new workers who may need a bit of extra training or support, and we expanded this initiative to support an extra 40,000 people into work. This investment, alongside initiatives like He Poutama Rangatahi and the Training Incentive Allowance, is helping to upskill our workforce as we secure our COVID recovery.
We’ve delivered the largest funding boost for Māori housing in decades, to ensure more whānau have a safe, healthy, affordable place to call home. From working with iwi to build new houses and repair existing homes, to funding vital infrastructure needed for construction, we’re supporting Māori-led, local solutions.
More than 210,000 kids benefiting from free lunches in schools
Our free lunches in schools programme has now reached more than 210,000 students across the motu, helping to ensure more Kiwi kids can focus on what’s important – learning. We’re working to more than halve child poverty within a decade. This will take sustained investment, but making sure hundreds of thousands of kids get at least one decent meal a day is a concrete step toward improving child wellbeing.
You can explore the progress we’ve made on the key issues facing New Zealand here, and read more about our achievements since 2017 here.
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