A year on from the establishment of the Coalition Government we have made considerable progress with our plans and we have put a lot of extra funding into helping children and families who need more support.
Our Government has been working on the development of a child wellbeing strategy that will shape all government services to children and young people. We want New Zealand to be the best place in the world to be a child. As Minister for Children, I have overseen the first year in operation of Oranga Tamariki, which has involved strengthening its core services – hiring more social workers and carers and giving both groups more support so that those children who most need it get better help. To allow this to happen, our first Budget provided Oranga Tamariki an extra $270 million. I was also delighted that the Budget included the funding to provide carers, such as grandparents, a clothing allowance of up to $1,500 a year for the children they’re raising.
Similarly, we’ve made some important steps to improve the services available to those children who need more support in education. We made a big investment in learning support – an area that has been underfunded for far too long – and consultation is just finishing on a new system to better deliver learning support services. That system should see children and schools with more people to assist them in this area.
As Minister for Seniors I have also been working on a new strategy to help older New Zealanders live well. Today there are around 725,000 people aged over 65. By 2028 there will be 1 million, nearly a quarter of the population.
NZ First values the contributions seniors have made during their working life, and continue to make once they turn 65. It is our job to ensure there is a strategy in place to help seniors transition to the life they want and our economy and workplaces adjust to this shift. The strategy will ensure that we are prepared for these demographic changes by addressing quality of life for seniors, and the implications of the ageing population on employment, housing, health, aged care, social services and the economy.
We have also committed to enhancing the popular SuperGold Card, which we look forward to unveiling during our time in Government.
The way we treat our youngest and oldest citizens reflects on us as a society. NZ First promises to maintain its focus on their needs during this term of Government. We are committed to making life better for all New Zealanders.
One Year in Government
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