It’s been six months since our Government took office – an incredibly busy six months! We’re proud of what we’ve achieved since October, ticking off everything in our 100 day plan and more, from introducing the Families Package to raising the minimum wage.
But we’re not slowing down. There's a whole lot more planned and we’ll be just as busy in the coming months, as we work to make Aotearoa an even better and fairer country for everyone.
Here’s a look at what we’ve achieved so far:
We’re investing in families to give our kids the best possible start in life.
Our Families Package, which passed through Parliament in December, will lift tens of thousands of children out of poverty and lift the incomes of 384,000 families. It extends paid parental leave to 22 weeks this July (and to 26 weeks by 2020), introduces extra money for families with newborns, and will help a million Kiwis heat their homes with a Winter Energy Payment.
We've also introduced legislation to set a child poverty reduction target so that all future governments, including ours, measure and report on how they’re doing in this vital work.
We’re making sure Kiwis are paid fairly for their work.
We’ve raised the minimum wage to $16.50 an hour, because we’re committed to a high-performing economy that delivers good jobs, decent work conditions, and fair wages. We’ve also committed to equal pay, because it’s time we do better by all women.
We’re working hard to fix the housing crisis.
Every New Zealander deserves a healthy home to live in. This is why we’ve passed the Healthy Homes Guarantee law, which requires all rentals to be warm and dry. We’re also making it easier for Kiwis to buy their first home. We’ve started our programme to build 100,000 more homes and introduced legislation to stop overseas speculators.
We’ve also stopped the previous Government’s mass state house sell-off. We’ll build more state homes instead of selling them off.
We’re rebuilding our neglected health system.
After a decade of underfunding, our health system is in urgent need of investment. We’re working hard to ensure our hospitals are fit for purpose and New Zealanders can get the care they need. And we’ve announced a ministerial inquiry into our mental health system.
We’re helping New Zealanders get a quality education.
Education gives people the freedom and opportunities to be the best they can be. As well as introducing fee-free tertiary education, we’ve boosted student allowances and loan entitlements so all New Zealanders can achieve more, and contribute to making New Zealand an even better place to live.
We’re looking after our environment – and our future.
Climate change is the biggest challenge of our time, and we need to act. This is why we’re restricting fossil fuel exploration in New Zealand. This month, we announced an end to offshore oil and gas exploration permits.
We’re investing in our regions.
Through our Provincial Growth Fund, we’re helping our regions thrive. We’re funding regional projects that enhance economic development opportunities, create sustainable jobs, and contribute to community wellbeing. We’re also making local and regional roads a priority.
We’re making things right.
Pike River was a national tragedy. After seven years it’s critical we make every effort to safely recover the mine drift, so we can better understand why 29 men never came home – and make sure it never happens again. To do this, we’ve established the Pike River Recovery Agency, as well as a responsible Minister.
We’ve also set up an inquiry into the historical abuse of children in state care. It’s a chance to confront our history, and make sure we never make the same mistakes again.
We’re growing a fair economy.
We’ve resumed contributions to the Super Fund, to help safeguard the provision of universal superannuation at age 65. We’ve established a Tax Working Group to make sure our tax system is a fair and progressive one, where everyone is paying their fair share.
We’ve worked extremely hard to achieve so much in such a short amount of time. We’ll be announcing other ways this Government will support you and your whānau, while making sure we remain fiscally responsible and return a surplus, in our upcoming Budget.