This was a week of milestones for New Zealand - from lifting 18,400 children out of poverty, to deploying over 2,000 new police on the beat. Not to mention a major regional investment as part of The Big New Zealand Upgrade Programme! Read below to find out more...
1. The Big New Zealand Upgrade got even bigger.
This week we announced a number of regional projects through The Big New Zealand Upgrade. The $300 million regional investment package will go towards upgrading roads, ports and airports around New Zealand - getting regions moving, creating jobs and boosting local economies. The Big New Zealand Upgrade means better opportunities for New Zealanders and their families - now and into the future.
2. 18,400 children have been lifted out of poverty.
This week also saw the release of Stats NZ child poverty data, which showed that 18,400 children have been lifted out of poverty by this Government. Furthermore, 7 out of 9 child poverty measures have improved under this Government. In contrast, under the last National government, 7 out of 9 child measures got worse. We know child poverty is a complex issue that will take time to fix, but this data shows the steps we’ve taken are having a real impact.
In 2017 we made a commitment to tackle New Zealand’s long term challenges, such as child poverty. Since 2017 we have:
- Introduced the Families Package which will boost the incomes of 384,000 families by an average of $75 a week when fully rolled out
- Extended free doctor visits to all children under 14
- Lifted the minimum wage to $17.70 an hour (raising again to $18.90 an hour from April 2020)
- Raising main benefits in line with wage growth, so families don't fall further behind
- Eased pressure on parents by scrapping NCEA fees, and increasing decile 1-7 school funding so most parents don't have to pay school donations
- Set child poverty targets into law, to hold governments to account now, and in the future
- Rolled out free and healthy lunches in schools to 7,000 students, increasing to 21,000 students over the next year
See more details about how 7 out of 9 child poverty indicators have improved under this Government: http://nzlp.nz/tc481
3. 2,000+ new police are now on the beat.
We celebrated a major milestone this week - over 2,000 new police officers on the beat! With the graduation of Wing 335 this Thursday, we officially marked a total of 2,023 new officers since we took office, coinciding with some significant breakthroughs against organised crime networks.
We promised to make our communities safer, and by adding more police officers to communities across New Zealand, we're delivering on this promise.
4. Pricing at the petrol pump is about to get fairer.
We're making changes to the wholesale fuel industry to get you and your family a fairer deal at the pump. Our response to the Commerce Commission's fuel market study, released publicly this week, will make the wholesale fuel market more competitive and transparent, which will lead to better pricing at the retail market level, and ultimately, a fairer deal for you at your local petrol station.
5. We ran a surplus and kept debt down.
Crown accounts released this week show that we're delivering a surplus of $1.4 billion. Expenses are also close to forecast and net core Crown Debt is lower than forecast. All of this means one thing - we're managing the books well, while making targeted investments to tackle the long term challenges facing New Zealand. The positive state of our accounts means we are well placed to withstand global headwinds, and to deal with whatever the economic impacts of coronavirus may be.