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Week That Was: Lunches in schools

This week we’ve made more progress tackling child poverty, keeping our communities safe with more police on the beat and backing working New Zealanders by reinforcing our commitment to keep the retirement age at 65.


1.

We're providing lunches in schools for the kids who need them most

As a government, child poverty is one of the toughest long-term challenges we have to tackle.

Fixing all the things that cause child poverty will take time, but one thing we can do straight away is make sure kids get at least one decent meal a day.

This week, the Prime Minister went to Kaitao Intermediate in Rotorua to announce our plan to provide lunches in schools for the kids who need them most. It’s another step towards our goal of
halving child poverty and making New Zealand the best place in the world to be a child.


2.

We're keeping communities safe

This week we set a record milestone for Māori police officers on the beat. We’ve increased the total number of Māori constables within Police by 10%.

One of our big focuses is breaking the cycle of offending and tackling the root causes of crime.

We’re proud to have the largest and most diverse police workforce on the beat in New Zealand history to help us achieve that goal! The graduation of Wing 329 from the Royal New Zealand Police College means 150 new Māori Police officers have been trained and deployed in the past twelve months. Police want to see the same proportion of Maori constables as there are Maori in the general population – and we fully support them. This week’s graduation means 1585 new Police officers have been deployed since our government took office.

PM Jacinda Ardern in Rotorua

3.

We’re backing working New Zealanders

We’re keeping the retirement age at 65.

One of the first things we did when we came into government was restart contributions to New Zealand’s retirement fund.

National stopped setting aside savings for Super for nine long years. That set us back, and now Simon Bridges’ suggested fix is to raise the retirement age.

We don't need to raise the retirement age to keep superannuation sustainable. We just need to invest responsibly, putting money in regularly so that we don’t disadvantage some sections of society to support others.


4.

We're rebuilding our health workforce

We’re recruiting more mental health nurses, turning around a decade of workforce shortages.

We want to ensure everyone can get access to mental health support when they need it.

Right now, mental health nurses are applying for a scheme that helps reduce shortages in our hospitals, in our communities, and in our regions, in record numbers.

In 2019, 148 mental health nurses were accepted for the intake, the highest ever and an 11% increase on last year!

We all know someone affected by mental health or addiction. That’s why we’ve made the largest investment in mental health ever.

Closing the digital divide

5.

We're closing the digital divide

We’re connecting more Kiwis to the internet, making it easier to work, study and relax online.

This week we celebrated 90,000 more homes and businesses gaining access to UFB. That’s an increase in UFB coverage that’s equivalent to a city the size of Wellington.

There were some high performers to, with towns like Waiuku and Hamilton celebrating uptake of over 60%. With 110 UFB cities and towns now complete, the build is now 85 per cent finished and still ahead of our scheduled finish line of 2022.

We’re also better connecting our rural communities. There are now approximately 38,000 households and businesses in hard to reach regions of New Zealand which now have access to improved broadband.

That makes doing business easier for our farmers, it improves farm security in isolated areas, and gives our students better access to education.