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Policy changes benefit more families in New Zealand

John Key

Wellington, July 5, 2016

It is great to see more changes come into effect last week that will help families get ahead and put more money in New Zealanders’ pockets.

These included further reductions in the annual average ACC motor vehicle levy, which means New Zealand motorists are now saving around $200 a year on average on what they were paying two years ago.

In total, the National-led Government has cut ACC levies by around $2 billion a year since 2008. That means more money in the pockets of New Zealand families, businesses and employers.

Paid parental leave payments also increased by more than $10 a week to $527.72.

Earlier this year, we increased paid parental leave to 18 weeks and made it available to more people as well as increased support for parents of pre-term babies.

Extensive support

The National-led Government is providing extensive support for families in other areas, including free doctors’ visits and prescriptions for all children under 13 and increasing benefit rates for families with children by $25 a week – the first real increase to benefits in more than 40 years.

New fully-funded treatments for advanced melanoma and Hepatitis C also became available for New Zealanders. This was thanks to our extra $124 million investment into Pharmac in Budget 2016.

These new treatments mean around 50,000 people affected by Hepatitis C will now have access to two new drugs, which have a 90% cure rate.

The National-led Government has increased Pharmac’s budget by $200 million a year since 2008, which means its budget next year will be a record $850 million.

Smoke Alarms compulsory

Other changes that came into effect last week also included new laws that make smoke alarms compulsory in all rental properties and landlords will have three years to insulate their rental properties. Both of these initiatives will save lives.

Our new target to tackle childhood obesity also got underway. We want to ensure children identified as obese in their free B4 School Check are referred to an appropriate health professional to get advice and help with family-based nutrition, activity and lifestyle interventions.

Helping vulnerable children

On top of all these, we are also ensuring there’s better support for vulnerable children, including young people leaving care and caregivers, as well as increased safety checking requirements, and making legal aid available to around 2700 more people a year.

Ever since I became Prime Minister, I have been clear that we are committed to making changes that improve people’s lives.

We are able to deliver these initiatives to New Zealand families because we have a strong and growing economy – supported by the National-led Government’s programme that’s working.

We will continue to focus on helping New Zealanders and their families get ahead.

John Key is Prime Minister of New Zealand.

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