Health targets are delivering better health results across the board, part of National’s priority to deliver better public services.
We are nearing our 95 per cent target in emergency medicine – in the past quarter, 94 per cent of patients across New Zealand were either admitted, discharged, or transferred from an emergency department within six hours of arriving.
This is the best result since records began.
Around New Zealand, district health boards delivered more elective surgeries than planned –since 2008 we have lifted the number of patients receiving elective surgery by 40,000.
The progress towards our health targets is providing a balance of better prevention and improved access, and I’m pleased this is delivering great results for all New Zealanders.
Under National, more than 3,700 prisoners will have access to drug and alcohol treatment for their addictions this year. This will rise to 4,700 next year, up from 234 in 2007/08.
That’s an increase of almost 1500 per cent since Labour was in power.
National’s been working hard on our Better Public Services target of a 25 per cent reduction in reoffending by 2017. So far, Corrections has reduced reoffending by 11.8 per cent – that’s 8668 fewer victims of crime each year.
Most prisoners are released back into communities. If we can give them the opportunity to change their lives while they’re inside prison, there is a greater chance they will stay away from crime when they are released, making our communities safer.
Under National, three new marine reserves surrounding the Antipodes Islands, the Bounty Islands, and Campbell Islands, in New Zealand’s Subantarctic ocean, have been established.
These areas are considered some of the most pristine marine environments in the world, and the reserves aim to keep them that way. The area coming under protection is 13 times larger than the total area of all the reserves on New Zealand’s three main islands. National has ensured there is complete ecosystem protection covering the land and the sea of these Subantarctic Islands.
At the heart of National’s “Bluegreen” approach to marine reserves are the principles of environmental sustainability and conservation – meeting the needs of the present generation while protecting and preserving our environment for generations to come.
Tourism is a critical part of National’s priority to build a more competitive and productive economy.
The New Zealand Cycle Trail Great Rides are going from strength to strength. A recent report showed they experienced a 56 per cent average growth rate in 2013, with an estimated 97,000 trail users in January 2014 alone.
This meant 97,000 cyclists spending money in shops, hotels, cafes, and restaurants right around the country. We want to ensure the trails continue to provide economic benefit to their local communities.
To do this, we are investing $8 million over four years into a contestable fund to assist with maintaining the trails. The Great Rides are a valuable tourism asset for New Zealand, and it is important they maintain their high-quality reputation and continue to provide an excellent experience for riders.
National remains firmly focussed on the public service becoming more innovative and efficient to help improve services, control costs, and deliver better results for all New Zealanders.
The latest update shows significant gains continue, but challenges remain in achieving these ambitious goals. We deliberately set the bar high in our targets as they address complex, long-term issues that affect New Zealanders.
Most result areas are on track, and some, including increasing infant immunisation, reducing crime, and reducing re-offending – are ahead of where they need to be to meet their targets.
National remains committed to delivering better public services as one of our four key priorities for this term.
New figures forecast a rise in primary sector exports this year to the value of $36.4 billion.
The forecast for agriculture, forestry, and fishing exports grew by $4.9 billion for this financial year. As part of this, dairy sector returns are projected to lift by $2.7 billion, and meat exports by $1.2 billion.
Log prices also increased 30 per cent in the second half of 2013, enabling forestry firms to use higher international prices by increasing harvest volumes – that’s an additional growth in returns of $0.8 billion in 2013/14.
Our goal is to double primary sector exports by 2025 – a key part of our plan to build a more productive and competitive economy.
Provisional 2013 results show the number of students leaving school with an NCEA Level 2 qualification significantly increased last year.
Nearly 77 per cent achieved at least NCEA Level 2, up from 74.3 per cent in 2012, and 66.5 per cent in 2008.
Māori and Pasifika students had the biggest increase in achievement, up 14.2 and 16.5 percentage points respectively since 2008.
Over the past five years National has collected data across the whole education system to see where we need to focus resources to lift achievement.
As part of our commitment to deliver better public services we have a target of 85 per cent of all 18-year-olds achieving NCEA Level 2 or an equivalent qualification in 2017. These results show this goal is achievable.
Since National introduced legislation in 2009 aimed at combating boy racer behaviour, illegal street racing offences have dropped nearly 50 per cent. In 2009 there were 2,737 offences, in 2013 this had fallen to 1,380.
This huge drop in offences means our roads are safer and our communities are safer.
New Zealanders don’t want this dangerous and anti-social behaviour on our roads, or the deaths and injuries that result from it. The message is getting through to boy racers that it won’t be tolerated.
There will be no let up from the Police.
This is part of our drive to deliver better public services for New Zealanders, and contributes to our target of a 15 per cent reduction in recorded crime by 2017.