Policy changes helping families get ahead

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Last Friday, April 1, saw a raft of policy changes aimed at helping families get ahead.

They included more paid parental leave, greater work expectations for parents on welfare benefits and the first beyond-inflation increase to those benefits in more than four decades.

Benefit rates for 100,000 families have risen by $25 a week after tax, which, together with an increase in Working for Families tax credits, will help more than half a million children. An increase in childcare assistance will reduce barriers to moving from welfare into work.

The minimum wage, starting-out wage, and New Zealand Superannuation are also increasing.  In addition, ACC levies were cut further, meaning yet more savings for families.

Later, in July, motor vehicle levies will fall, saving motorists $65 a year on average.

These policy changes are ground-breaking. This National-led Government is doing its utmost to return to the electorate the fruits of its careful management of the economy and of the public sector.

Prime Minister John Key and his finance minister Bill English deserve the community's thanks for helping ordinary Kiwis, and especially its most vulnerable families, get a real increase in their spending power.

I’m proud to be part of an Administration focused on ensuring that everyone shares in the gains of a growing economy.

This is further exemplified by the latest employment forecast from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. It predicts the number of jobs in New Zealand will grow by 148,300 over the next three years.

Strongest job growth is expected in construction, hospitality, wholesale and retail trade, and business services.

One of National’s priorities is to build a more competitive and productive economy to create more jobs and higher incomes for Kiwis. This report from the ministry proves that what we’re doing is working.