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Public service performance improving: Govt

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 31/10/2016

The government's mid-year stocktake says there's a steady improvement in public services against 10 "challenging" targets set in 2012, but crime statistics spoil the picture.

The Better Public Services (BPS) mid-year report outlines progress against targets which include reducing long-term welfare dependence, reducing assaults on children, increasing infant immunisation, increasing educational participation and reducing recidivist and violent crime.

"These outcomes have been achieved by some long-term changes in the behaviour and approach of the public services," Finance Minister Bill English said.

"Four years after the targets were first set, a lower number of hard core issues are left to be resolved."

However, not all the figures are positive and Justice Minister Amy Adams acknowledges that although crime rates are down on 2011 levels, the June quarter wasn't a good one.

"The latest figures highlight that more work needs to be done," she said.

The BPS crime measures in the June quarter were:

* Total crime up 1.4 per cent (down 15 per cent since 2011)

* Violent crime up 3.2 per cent (down 4 per cent since 2011)

* Youth crime up 5.3 per cent (down 33 per cent since 2011)

* Re-offending up 0.9 per cent (down 5.6 per cent since 2011).

On the positive side:

* The number of people on a main benefit is down from 295,320 at the end of March 2014 to 279,769 at the end of March 2016, a fall of 5.3 per cent

* Participation in early childhood education is up from 94.7 per cent in 2011 to 96.6 per cent in 2016

* Achievement in NCEA level 2 is up from 74.3 per cent in 2011 to 83.3 per cent in 2015

* Rheumatic fever cases have dropped from 177 cases in 2012 to 112 cases in 2016

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