The government has announced a number of targets for the public sector to hit over the next five years, including having a third fewer long-term beneficiaries and a more skilled youth workforce by 2017.
Fronting a suite of announcements on Monday afternoon, Prime Minister John Key and Finance Minister Bill English said the targets sat under 10 challenges Key set for the public service in March.
On top of beneficiary numbers and skill levels, targets were set for crime levels, online government services, education, and support for primary school children.
Fewer long-term beneficiaries
The government wanted to reduce the number of long-term beneficiaries by 30% from 78,000 to 55,000 by 2017, Social Development Minister Paula Bennett announced.
"Welfare reform will require more working age people to look for work, and the Government is targeting those who can work but have been on a benefit long term," Bennett said.
"In July 2013 about 130,000 people will move on to the new Jobseeker Support, of which 78,000 will have been on working-age benefits fore more than 12 months. The government is targeting a 30% reduction in the number of long-term beneficiaries on Jobseeker Support from 78,000 to 55,000 by 2017," she said.
Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce said 55% of 25-34 year olds should have a qualification at level four or above by 2017, up from 52% in 2011. A more highly skilled workforce would lead to greater economic growth, Joyce said.
"Achieving a Level 4 or above qualification provides, on average, a significant income premium for a person and a greater likelihood of sustained employment, over those that don't achieve that level," Joyce said.
"With demand for highly skilled or degree-qualified people expected to exceed supply by 2018, we need to ensure we have the right people with the right skills to fill these gaps," he said.
"To increase the number of people with advanced trade qualifications, diplomas and degrees, we need to identify further opportunities to increase enrolments within the tertiary sector, to improve quality and completion rates, and to increase performance.
"Given the shape of the demographic curve, this will require 56,250 people to achieve level four qualifications between now and 2017 - 11,250 more people than we are expecting under policy initiatives to date. This will be a big challenge for government agencies and providers of all types," Joyce said.
Education, crime, online, children
Justice Minister Judith Collins set a number of crime-related targets, which included the total crime rate falling 15% (45,000 fewer crimes) by 2017, and violent crime falling by 20% (7,500 fewer crimes).
Education Minister Hekia Parata set a target that by 2017, 85% of 18-year-olds would have NCEA Level 2 or an equivalent qualification - up from 67% in 2010.
Parata, Bennett and Health Minister Tony Ryall set a number of targets for supporting vulnerable children, including having 98% participation in early childhood education in 2016; Having 95% of eight-month olds fully immunised with the scheduled vaccinations by the end of 2014, and maintaining that, at least until 2017; and stopping growth in physical abuse, which is currently projected to rise from 3,000 cases now to 4,000 by 2017.
Internal Affairs Minister Chris Tremain set a number of targets for the government's online services, including:
- Business costs from dealing with government to reduce by 25% by 2017, through a year-on-year reduction in effort required to work with agencies.
- Government services to business will have similar key performance ratings as leading private sector firms by July 2017, and businesses will be able to contribute to this through an online feedback system from July 2013.
- By 2017 an average of 70% of New Zealand's most common transactions with government will be completed in a digital environment - up from 24% currently.