Weekend Sun column

Friday, February 27, 2015

One of National’s four key priorities has been to deliver better public services. This is just one area where the Government can make a real difference to New Zealander’s lives. In practice it means improving health and educational outcomes, reducing crime rates and welfare dependency and making it easier for people to interact with Government departments.

In order to achieve this in 2012 we set 10 specific measurable targets for the public service to achieve over the next five or so years. This marked a significant change from previous Governments, with the focus going on the outcomes and impact on New Zealanders and not just how much money was spent in each area.

These targets are just one way the public can measure and judge our performance as a Government. In order to assist this we also publish six-monthly updates on the Better Public Services programme that track the progress on each target.

The latest six-monthly update shows we are making progress in all 10 targets. In fact we have already adjusted some of them to make them more challenging, as we were ahead of schedule in meeting the original targets.

For example, we have changed the overall crime target to require a 20 per cent reduction by 2018, replacing the previous target of a 15 per cent reduction by 2017 which has already been achieved.

Almost 5000 people came off the long-term Jobseeker Support benefit in 2014. Infant immunisations are at an all-time high, rheumatic fever rates have dropped considerably, and crime numbers continue to fall.

These targets are about ensuring that we are getting value for your money and achieving outcomes that will make a difference to you and your family. We are focused on doing what works, not just spending more money for the same results.