New Zealand Labour Party

Week That Was: Mental health support for Kiwi kids

Another busy week! Read below for a review of the highlights and achievements, including:

  • Launching a review of our welfare system
  • Boosting support and incentives to get thousands more teachers into schools
  • Supporting Y1-8 children with Mana Ake mental health support in schools
  • Celebrating working New Zealanders on International Workers' Day
  • Helping more New Zealanders get online
  • and more!

This week, we announced our plan to fix the welfare system, in response to the Government’s Welfare Expert Advisory Group (WEAG) review. 

Our plan will result in fewer children growing up in extreme poverty and see more people moving off benefits and into decent long term work.

We want to support people into work and improve income security for New Zealanders on benefits. That’s why:

  • we’re funding 263 new frontline staff over four years to focus on helping more people into meaningful and sustainable work.
  • we’re lifting children out of poverty, by scrapping the failed, discriminatory sanction that cut incomes to women and their children if the name of the child’s father was not declared to the Government.
  • we’re making sure work is worth it, by making sure beneficiaries can take home more of what they earn.

The WEAG report contains 42 key recommendations. We can’t deliver on every recommendation at once - but we can take a balanced approach to ensure more people get access to support they’re legally entitled to.

We know it’s our duty to make sure New Zealanders going through tough times have an adequate income and standard of living and are treated with respect. And we know if we’re going to support more people into decent, long-term work, we need to make our welfare system work for us, not against us. 

We're getting thousands more teachers into schools with a major boost to scholarships and incentives for teacher training. In the lead-up to the Wellbeing Budget, we are focusing on making sure our young people get the best start in life. More teachers will help improve the quality of teaching and education, and boost the wellbeing of our children.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins talks with people at Thursday's teacher supply announcement at Victoria University, Kelburn Campus.

Budget 2019 is funding additional trainee teacher places through 1,860 TeachNZ scholarships, Teach First NZ places to recruit graduates and professionals into low decile secondary schools, employment-based teacher education programme for secondary teachers, and Iwi-based scholarships. It also supports 800 more teachers into their first roles through the National Beginning Teacher Grant and the Voluntary Bonding Scheme expansion.

Schools have been crying out for more teachers. We are delivering.

Read more here.

Every child in Canterbury & Kaikōura’s primary and intermediate schools now has access to mental health and wellbeing support thanks to the Government’s Mana Ake programme. 

Read more here.

This week we celebrated International Workers' Day! Working New Zealanders have helped build our successful economy. We want to make sure that everyone has a share in the prosperity they helped create.

The Prime Minister visited the Nelson Tasman Chamber of Commerce this week. It was a great opportunity to speak about how we are managing a strong economy, reducing unemployment, and creating opportunities in the regions.

More New Zealanders than ever will be able to access online services safely and securely, with this week’s launch of a new Digital Inclusion Blueprint.

Minister Megan Woods announced the Blueprint, which lays out how people can take full advantage of the internet, and will help us identify groups of New Zealanders who may struggle to access online services. It will be used to coordinate the planning of different Government and community initiatives, and identify where future investment and action is needed.

As more vital services move online, those who don’t have the skills or access will find it more difficult to go about their daily lives.

“Some people can’t easily apply for jobs as many recruitment processes start online, kids may be prevented from doing their homework, and others could feel isolated from more digitally savvy friends and family who communicate using social media," said Minister Woods.  "We want to ensure no one is left out or left behind as more and more of our lives move online."