Annual report 2016 cover

Contributing to Better Public Services

Since 2012 a core focus of the Ministry has been the Government’s challenging targets for the public sector in 10 key result areas. Four of these results are overseen by the Social Sector Board, and we are responsible for leading two of these and contributing to the other two. We also contribute to four of the remaining six results. This section sets out progress towards achieving the targets and our contribution to that progress.

Our work across the sector is crucial to making a difference for New Zealand. Over the past year, we have remained focused on delivering better public services to New Zealanders.

We lead efforts to achieve targets for Results 1 and 4

Result 1: Reduce working-age client numbers (targets: achieve a 25 percent reduction in working-age client numbers from 295,000 in June 2014 to 220,000 in June 2018, and an accumulated actuarial release [1] of $13 billion by June 2018[2])

We are the lead agency for this Result.

This year, we increased the number of clients in intensive case management services by giving priority to clients receiving Sole Parent Support and Job Seeker Support clients with a health condition or disability.

In 2015/2016 the number of working-age main benefit recipients fell by 1.8 percent, from 284,960 to 279,806 [3], largely driven by a fall of 3,818 (from 69,240 to 65,422) in Sole Parent Support numbers, which are now at their lowest level since the category was introduced in 2013. The cumulative fall since June 2014 is 4.6 percent.

Number of working-age (18-64 years old) people on a main benefit (excluding Jobseeker Support – Student Hardship)


The latest valuation of the benefit system (June 2015) put the liability at $68.4 billion, a decrease of $600 million (approximately 1 percent) from the previous year. The cumulative actuarial release from June 2014 to June 2016 was $3.8 billion [4].

Actuarial release


Result 4: Reduce the number of children experiencing physical abuse (target: halt the 10-year rise in children experiencing physical abuse and reduce 2011 numbers by 5 percent by 2017 [5])

We are the lead agency for this Result.

The number of physical assaults on children has fallen to 2,953 for the year to 30 June 2016, compared with 3,118 for the previous 12 months. This result meets the target of 5 percent for the first time.

Work that helped us to lower the result has included targeting of funding to those with the highest needs, under the Community Investment Strategy, and the establishment of additional Children’s Teams.

Children with substantiated findings of physical abuse (12-month periods)


We support other agencies to deliver on Results 2, 3, 5, 7, 8 and 10

Result 2: Increase participation in early childhood education (target: by the end of 2016, 98 percent of children starting school will have participated in early childhood education (ECE) [6])

We support the Ministry of Education as lead agency with responsibility for this Result.

At 30 June 2016 the ECE participation rate had risen to 96.6 percent. A key focus for this result is ensuring that families are not lost from the system, particularly if they relocate.

Our work includes locally-based innovations, and engagement with ECE providers, iwi, Māori organisations and Pacific churches. The Puna Kāinga initiative has supported 150 Māori, Pacific and low socio-economic children in 16 priority communities who are within 12 months of starting school to enrol in ECE.

We subsidise the cost of ECE for children in our care aged between 18 and 36 months, and for those that are enrolled in the Family Start programme. At 30 June 2016, 79 percent of children in care aged between 18 months and five years participated in ECE [7], while 76 percent of children in Family Start aged between 18 months and five years were enrolled in ECE.

Prior ECE participation rate


Result 3: Increase infant immunisation rates (target: achieve full immunisation of 95 percent of eight-month-olds by December 2014 and maintain this through to June 2017), and reduce the incidence of rheumatic fever by two-thirds (target: 1.4 cases per 100,000 people by June 2017 [8])

We support the Ministry of Health as lead agency with responsibility for this Result.

At 30 June 2016 the immunisation rate was 92.8 percent, an increase of 5.7 percent since 2012. We are working closely with district health boards to locate unimmunised children and to address barriers to primary care for this group.

We ensure that children in care are fully immunised through the Gateway assessments programme. In 2015/2016, 80 percent of children in care were referred for individualised health and educational assessments through the Gateway programme [9].

Immunisation coverage for children at eight months


In the 2015/2016 financial year there were 112 first-episode rheumatic fever hospitalisations, a rate of 2.4 per 100,000 (down from 135 hospitalisations and a rate of 3.0 in 2014/2015).

We continue to work with other agencies [10] to promote rheumatic fever prevention messages.

Rheumatic fever


Result 5: Increase attainment of NCEA Level 2 or an equivalent qualification (target: increase the proportion of 18-year-olds with NCEA Level 2 or equivalent qualification to 85 percent by 2017 [11])

We support the Ministry of Education as lead agency with responsibility for this Result.

The result for the 2015 calendar year was 83.3 percent, compared with 81.2 percent for 2014.

We contribute to this target through the Youth Service, which aims to assist disengaged young people back into training or education by providing intensive wraparound support including budgeting and parenting. The Youth Service has been very successful: at 30 June 2016, 96.3 percent of its 12,683 participants were engaged in education, training or work-based learning.

18-year-olds' achievement of NCEA Level 2


The Youth Service has been extended to at-risk 18- and 19-year-olds and 19-year-old teen parents, to reduce their likelihood of remaining on a benefit long term.

Result 7: Reduce crime rates (target: reduce crime by 20 percent by June 2017 [12])

Result 8: Reduce reoffending rates (target: reduce reoffending rates by 25 percent by 2017 [13])

As a member of the Youth Crime Action Plan, we support the Ministry of Justice as lead agency with responsibility for these Results. Our areas of focus are responding to youth crime and the prevention of youth reoffending.

In December 2015 the youth crime rate was 201 court appearances per 10,000, a decrease of nearly 38 percent from 323 in June 2011. The total crime rate over the same period fell from 990 per 10,000 to 827, a decrease of 16.5 percent.

Youth crime rate


The rate of reoffending fell from 28.8 cases per 10,000 population in December 2011 to 28.0 in December 2015.

Reoffending rate


Result 10: Enhance New Zealanders’ ability to deal with government agencies in a digital environment (target: increase the percentage of New Zealanders who complete their transactions with government online to 70 percent by 2017. [14])

We support the Department of Internal Affairs as lead agency with responsibility for this Result. Our contributing indicator to the result is the proportion of applications for financial assistance that are lodged online.

In the quarter ended 30 June 2016, 46.8 percent of applications for financial assistance were lodged online, up from 37.8 percent a year before. Overall, 50 percent of New Zealanders’ common transactions with government agencies were digital in the quarter ended 30 June 2016, compared with 45.3 percent for the same period in 2015.

In 2015/2016 our services and enhancements to help our clients to transact with us digitally included:

  • implementing the MyMSD online service
  • rolling out Cheap As Data, a package to assist clients to use our digital channels through their mobile network at little or no cost
  • enhancing voice-enabled phone technology
  • enabling electronic lodgement of medical certificates
  • making MyStudyLink easier for students to use.

Average rate of transactions completed in a digital environment



[1] An ‘actuarial release’ is an estimate of the change in long-term liability of the benefit system resulting from changes in the number of beneficiaries and their likelihood of long-term benefit receipt. The measure attempts to isolate the impact of collective government activity on beneficiary numbers. Adjustments are made in the estimate to remove the impact of interest and inflation rate changes on the liability and other factors beyond the control of government activity.

[2] These targets replaced the previous targets in February 2015.

[3] The BPS1 result differs from the total number of people on main benefits as the former does not include the Student Jobseeker (Student Hardship) category.

[4] There are two components involved in the approach to calculating the actuarial release:

  • The first component involves calculating the difference between actual benefit payments from 30 June 2014 through to the release date of 30 June 2016 (adjusted for seasonal effects) and the expected payments if the benefit recipients were unchanged over the same period.
  • The second component looks at the change in expected future benefit costs between the population on benefit in the year prior to 30 June 2014 and the population on benefit in the year prior to the release date, using the June 2014 valuation model as a basis but adjusted by benefit indexation to the year of calculation.

[5] This target was set in 2012.

[6] This target was set in 2012.

[7] Some children may not be enrolled in ECE due to medical reasons, lack of consent from parents, or being on an ECE waiting list.

[8] This target was set in 2012.

[9] The main circumstances for non-enrolment in early childhood education are medical or psychological reasons that mean this is not appropriate.

[10] These agencies include Housing New Zealand, PHARMAC, the Ministry of Education, Te Puni Kōkiri, and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority.

[11] This target was set in 2012.

[12] This target replaced the previous target in 2015.

[13] This target replaced the previous target in 2015.

[14] This target was set in 2012.