Prime minister Christoper Luxon (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)
Prime minister Christoper Luxon (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

The BulletinApril 9, 2024

The government’s nine big goals for 2030

Prime minister Christoper Luxon (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)
Prime minister Christoper Luxon (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

Prime minister Christopher Luxon acknowledged the public service targets were ambitious and made no apologies for leaning into his background as a CEO, writes Anna Rawhiti-Connell in this excerpt from The Bulletin, The Spinoff’s morning news round-up. To receive The Bulletin in full each weekday, sign up here.

No apologies for CEO approach as public service targets announced

Yesterday, prime minister Christopher Luxon announced nine public service targets to be met by 2030. Ministers and lead public service heads will have the responsibility for ensuring they are met. The former government’s implementation unit will be refashioned as a delivery unit, which, as The Post’s Thomas Manch reported in March, stems from an idea that rose to popularity under Tony Blair’s government in the UK in 2001. This morning, Manch reports that Luxon is making no apologies for his CEO background nor the ambition embedded within the targets, saying that having career politicians for the last six years hasn’t worked. The Herald’s Liam Dann thinks Luxon should lean into his business background (paywalled), writing that Luxon is essentially saying that the management of this country could benefit from more discipline around delivery and accountability. Dann writes that “Business is quite good at that stuff” but also argues Luxon needs to adhere more closely to the positive characteristics of business leaders rather than getting dragged into negative political gameplay. The last National government also had public service targets, and Stuff’s Tova O’Brien writes that if “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Sir John Key will be blushing.”

Ambitious emergency housing target set

The Herald’s Derek Cheng has the complete list of targets here. The five health targets were announced in early March and include faster cancer treatment, improved immunisation rates, and shorter stays in emergency departments. Law and order targets include a 15% reduction in the total number of children and young people with serious and persistent offending behaviour and 20,000 fewer people who are victims of an assault, robbery, or sexual assault. There is also an ambitious emergency housing target with a 75% reduction in the number of households using emergency housing and a repetition of being on track to meet New Zealand’s existing 2050 net-zero emissions goal.

Jobseeker target sets out reduction of 50,000

The jobseeker target sets out to reduce the number of people on the jobseeker benefit by 50,000. Social development minister Lousie Upston spoke with RNZ’s Lisa Owen on Checkpoint last night. Owen pressed Upston on a couple of matters. She asked where the jobs would come from, referencing recent public service cuts. Various bank economists and the Reserve Bank are predicting the unemployment rate will rise to between 5% – 5.5% by the end of December. Owen also referenced 2014 MSD figures from the last time National introduced public service targets, including a reduction in the number of people on the benefit, which showed 25% of people had returned to the benefit within a year.

Jobseeker target includes those on health or disability jobseekers benefit

The jobseeker target includes those on the health or disability jobseekers benefit. MSD data published in February revealed there were 378,711 people in New Zealand receiving a “main benefit”. Of those, 189,798 people were on a Jobseeker benefit — that includes a group of 80,100 people receiving a health and disability benefit who were considered work-ready. In response to the announcement, Labour’s finance spokesperson Barbara Edmonds shared a story about her father having to go on a benefit to look after her mother after she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Edmonds questioned the “unintended consequences” of the targets, saying her father’s decision helped keep her mum out of the hospital.

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