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Government introduces new Better Public Services targets

May 11, 2017 at 4:10 PM

*From the New Zealand Family Violence Clearinghouse*

The Government has announced a new set of ten "Better Public Services" targets.

The targets include reducing serious crime and reducing physical and sexual abuse of children.

Reducing crime

One new target is to reduce the number of serious crime victims by 10,000 by 2021. Family and sexual violence are excluded from the target but will be reported on. The State Services Commission website says:

"The family and sexual violence rates have been excluded from the main target as we expect the number of reported offences for these crimes to increase as rates of reporting and detection increase. They are included as supporting measures as they are serious crime and are of significant interest to us."

Family violence will be measured by the "number of violent offences where the offender and victim were part of the same family, as a proportion of the New Zealand population. Specifically, this will be the number of family violence offences per 10,000 people where family violence is defined by the relationship between the offender and victim as recorded in Recorded Crime Victim Statistics (RCVS)."

It is noted that at present, a significant proportion of the Recorded Crime Victim Statisticslist the relationship of offender to victim as "not stated/inadequately described."

The New Zealand Crime and Safety Survey found that 24% of violent interpersonal offences against a partner were reported to the Police (Ministry of Justice 2014, p.107).

"Vulnerable children"

Another target is to reduce the number of children experiencing physical and sexual abuse by 20% by 2021. This will be measured by the number of children with substantiated findings of physical or sexual abuse by the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki. In addition to the target measure, the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki will track two supporting measures:

  • The total number of children experiencing abuse of any type, including physical, sexual, emotional abuse and neglect
  • The percentage of children who experience a repeat Report of Concern within 12 months.

For more information see the Better Public Services Result 4 Action Plan (March 2017) focused on Safer Kids: Reducing Assaults and Abuse of Children.

Other targets

A target to reduce the number of people receiving benefits continues. The new target is "to reduce working-age client numbers by 25% (from 295,000 to 220,000) and achieve an accumulated actuarial release of welfare liability of $13 billion by June 2018."

A new target is to "reduce the time to house for Priority A clients from the social housing register by 20 per cent by 2021."

All targets are listed on the State Services Sector website.

State Services Minister Paula Bennett said an action plan for each new result will be released in the coming months.

Background information

The previous Better Public Services targets were set in 2012. They included a target to reduce total reported crime and violent crime by 20%, or 7500 fewer crimes a year, by June 2017. As at March 2017, that measure had reduced by 2%. They also included a target to reduce the number of children with substantiated findings of physical abuse by 5% by June 2017.

For further information and related research and commentary, see these previous news stories:

Latest Better Public Service data - increase in reported violent crime

All previous NZFVC news stories on Better Public Services


More houses should be the primary target, Press Release: Child Poverty Action Group, 05.04.2017

Govt softens target for reducing violent crime, Radio NZ, 03.05.2017

Government shifts crime reduction goalposts, Newshub, 03.05.2017

Smarter public investment and services to improve lives, Beehive: Bill English, 03.05.2017

Category: Policy and Legislation