The Government targets

June 26th, 2012 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

I’ve blogged before on the Government setting five year targets in a number of areas for both itself and the public service. Not only is this a fairly radical refocusing of the public service from outputs to outcomes, it is politically a brave thing for a Government to do. I can not recall any past Government actually setting concrete targets it wants to be measured against.

Hopefully it will lead to alternate Governments going into an election with not just policies about what they want to do, but actual outcomes they want their Government to achieve if elected. And I don’t mean general ones like “close the gaps” but specific such as “reduce the unemployment rate by 25% in three years”.

The -led Government has now released specific targets, for its ten five-year goals. The targets are:

  1. Reduce the number of people who have been on a working-age benefit for more than 12 months
    1. Reduce those on Jobseeker Support for more than 12 months by 30%, from 78,000 to 55,000
  2. Increase participation in early childhood education
    1. By 2016, have 98% of school entrants having participated in early childhood education, up from 95%
  3. Increase infant immunisation rates and reduce the incidence of rheumatic fever
    1. 95% of eight months olds to be immunised, up from 83%
    2. reduce the incidence of rheumatic fever by two thirds to 1.4 cases per 100,000
  4. Reduce the number of assaults on children
    1. Halt the 10-year increase in child abuse, and reduce the current numbers by 5%
  5. Increase the proportion of 18 year olds with NCEA Level 2 or equivalent
    1. Increase the proportion achieving NCEA Level 2 from 67% to 85%
  6. Increase the proportion of 25-34 year olds with advanced trade qualifications, diplomas and degrees
    1. Increase the proportion of 25 to 34 year olds having advanced qualifications from 52% to 55%
  7. Reduce the rates of total crime, violent crime and youth crime
    1. Reduce the crime rate by 15% – 45,000 fewer crimes a year
    2. Reduce the violent crime rate by 20% – 7,500 fewer violent crimes a year
    3. Reduce the youth crime rate by 5% – 600 fewer young people appearing in court
  8. Reduce reoffending
    1. Reduce the reoffending rate by 25%, meaning 600 fewer prisoners and 18,500 fewer victims of crime
  9. NZ businesses have a one-stop online shop for all government advice and support
    1. Business costs of dealing with government reduce 25%
    2. KPIs for Government services to be developed
  10. NZers can complete transactions with government easily in a digital environment
    1. 70% of transactions with government can be done online, up from 24% currently

Now I don’t think anyone should expect all 14 specific targets to be achieved. That would be a near miracle. But what NZers will be looking for is at least some of them being achieved fully, and all of them to have progress and move in the right direction. The 2014 election will provide an opportunity for people to judge if they think the achievement to date has been satisfactory.

As I said above, I hope these specific outcomes and targets will become a feature of all future governments.

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26 Responses to “The Government targets”

  1. mikenmild (8,917 comments) says:

    If wishing made it so, as Russell Brown observes:
    http://publicaddress.net/hardnews/if-wishing-made-it-so/

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  2. wreck1080 (3,533 comments) says:

    According to the law, and Sue Bradford, light smacking is child abuse.

    Sue (and now John Key) would rather have kids in the hands of cyfs carers than with parents who might smack their kid on the bottom for hitting a sibling.

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  3. Brad (75 comments) says:

    A goal is not a strategy, and without a strategy these goals will go the way of all of Key’s others. Not being achieved

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  4. Pete George (21,831 comments) says:

    There’s the predictable Ambitious targets versus meaningless lists

    I think we have to have ambitious goals, if the implementaion is sensible. Far better than being dragged down by perpetual pessimism.

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  5. mikenmild (8,917 comments) says:

    I see that some of the targets have already been described as ‘aspirational’.

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  6. Redbaiter (6,482 comments) says:

    These 14 points can be achieved by individual effort, not government effort.

    If the National Party really wanted to put NZ on the road to recovery from the socialist destruction of the last few decades, they would immediately cut government spending by at least 50% and close the required number of govt depts to achieve that reduction.

    This is all just window dressing.

    National are merely Labour-lite and they will change nothing.

    NZers need to wake up and realise that it is socialist politicians and socialist policies in both National and Labour that have ruined NZ.

    The people who caused these problems cannot ever solve them. They do not have the right intellectual setting.

    Vote socialism out. It is the only available solution that is real.

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  7. fish_boy (152 comments) says:

    “…I can not recall any past Government actually setting concrete targets it wants to be measured against…”

    Since by 2017 National would have been in opposition for three years and John Key would have last set foot in this country in the departure lounge of Auckland International airport sometime around Xmas of 2014, I would suggest this government’s “concrete targets” are about as concrete as a bowl of cold porridge. Except even cold porridge has some sort of nutritional value.

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  8. emmess (1,334 comments) says:

    I don’t agree

    The opposition will just accuse the government of lying if the targets are missed

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  9. tom hunter (4,012 comments) says:

    I think this may actually be another approach lifted from the files of Helen Clark.

    You may recall the sad parade of “Knowledge Wave” conferences, calls for a “Zero-Carbon Economy” and the rest of the yada, yada, yada announcements. They never really went anywhere in terms of policy, let alone outcomes, but they did grab the headlines for a few days, got various media talking heads all excited as they could puff more hot air into these balloons, and gave the Labour candidates some nice soundbites that could be repeated for a few months. The whole thing could then be re-badged the following year thanks to the normal processes of Short-Term Memory loss by the voters.

    In that case the targets were voters concerned about business; potential National party voters, centrists perhaps, or even “right-wingers”. They could be kept onside with the thought that Helen and company were doing something for them, understood business, and were not out to screw them – aside from the rich pricks of course.

    The target here is different but the principle is the same. The intention is for National to “reach out” to left-wing voters who “care” about social ills. At best they can be kept excited, at worst their anger can be mollified and the standard angry accusations of a callous and uncaring government can be damped down. After all, the government says that they care and such announcements look like they’re doing something, which is very important in a country whose citizens constantly demand to know why the gummit’ doesn’t do somethin’?.

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  10. Manolo (12,643 comments) says:

    More lies and wishful thinking from spineless Key and minions.
    Labour lite has failed NZ.

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  11. Ross12 (931 comments) says:

    ” A goal is not a strategy, and without a strategy these goals will go the way of all of Key’s others. Not being achieved

    Brad –The ministers don’t set up the strategies. That is what the Govt. Depts. are for.That is what the massively paid heads of department are paid for. If they cannot do it and as you seem to imply Cabinet should be setting the strategy then the Heads of Dept are a waste of time and should be sacked !!

    I have not heard any details , just the headlines, that the CEO’s of Govt. departments will be given bonuses if they achieve the goals. I say why do they need the bonuses to do their jobs properly ? Do they just have to turn up in the morning to get their salary but if the Government wants some effort put in they have to have a carrot put in front of the nose ? This is crazy.
    Don’t tell me that it happens in the private sector so they have to have it in the public sector. These CEOs get very well paid as it is for managing organisations that in general have no competition and in many cases are spending money not earning income (sales). So I don’t buy the argument that they can be compared.

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  12. mikenmild (8,917 comments) says:

    I agree with tom – these targets appear to be an attempt to substitue aspiration for action. On a previous thread I commented about the ttargets for reducing reoffending and noted that the government’s commitment of resources to this task is currently still below what was spent in the 1990s. Unless the government is confident that reoffending is reducing irrespective of what is done by the corrections system (which it may be), then surely some resource commitment is intended.

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  13. RRM (8,997 comments) says:

    Vote socialism out. It is the only available solution that is real.

    There has to be someone else you can vote in… who do you suggest, if not National/Labour?

    Colin Craig’s Kiwi girls are all dirty sluts Party perhaps?

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  14. mikenmild (8,917 comments) says:

    Ross12
    The government CEs deserve the big bucks for dealing with crazy schems like these and then finding ingenious ways to get their political masters off the hook when things turn out differently.

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  15. wikiriwhis business (3,302 comments) says:

    State bosses are being given bonuses from taxpayer money to beat up on the poor.
    People will be kicked off benefits of shifted to pointless training schemes just so the bosses in that area can get a bonus. No effort will be made to find suitable employment, just so long as someone stays off the books for a few months. To do this they will happily cycle people through dead end jobs with slave like conditions where employers will take advantage of the 3 month ‘fire without a reason’ trial period to have cheap labour for 3 months and fire with now reason, so no real future for the worker , but the WINZ bosses will get their huge bonus.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/7168781/State-boss-bonus-for-hitting-targets?cid=edm%3Astuff%3Adailyheadlines

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  16. wikiriwhis business (3,302 comments) says:

    ‘There has to be someone else you can vote in… who do you suggest, if not National/Labour?’

    Like him or loathe him vote Winston. The establishment has to be punished. If we let them continue they tell us we have given them licence to abuse us.

    The future is third party representation. JK knows because he has flip flopped and wants to negotiate with Winston now.

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  17. wikiriwhis business (3,302 comments) says:

    ‘There has to be someone else you can vote in… who do you suggest, if not National/Labour?’

    Vote NZ First. Punish the establishment who continue to justify themselves that we give them licence to abuse us.

    JK has definitely flip flopped over Winston

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  18. kowtow (6,734 comments) says:

    Target culture is simply bureaucatic double talk .

    They should stick to their long lost principles of balanced books and small government.

    Targets are lies, a pretence at doing something.

    The UK has had em since at least the late ’80s and look at the utter mess they are in.

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  19. E. Campbell (85 comments) says:

    There’s an easy way to meet the NCEA Level 2 target, and it’s sure to happen here. England and its soon to be abolished GCSE system is the model — you just lower the standard so more people pass. Some say that has already happened with NCEA!

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  20. Tom Jackson (2,263 comments) says:

    You know, the communist countries used to do things this way. I remember tales of the same 50 bushels of wheat being transported from farm to farm in order to meet the targets. We know how that ended up.

    British New Labour tried much the same thing with similar levels of success in the NHS. Targets without strategies more or less guarantee fraud.

    What is wrong with the National Party? It’s not like they don’t have some reasonably bright MPs. So why is it that important ministerial posts are given to hopelessly-out-of-their-depth, dumb, authoritarian cannon fodder like Bennett, Collins, Tolley and Parata? It’s not like they don’t have others, particularly women, who are more than capable…

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  21. mikenmild (8,917 comments) says:

    Yes, it does smack somewhat of a glorious five-year plan! perhaps we could even call it the Great Leap Forward.

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  22. Richard29 (377 comments) says:

    Some of these targets look very much like they ran the projections on what was going to happen anyway and then announced something lesser as a target.
    Reduce benefit numbers by 20,000 in five years.

    If you look at the numbers just for Unemployment Benefit (the easiest to change and where the vast bulk of these numbers will come from) it shows that under the previous Labour Government unemployment benefit numbers reduced by 20,000 or so every two years for 9 years before spiking up with the aftermath of the financial crisis.
    http://www.interest.co.nz/charts/labour/benefits-numbers

    As we gradually come out of the recession and economic growth picks up National are hoping that the policy settings and employment environment (which remain substantively the same) will deliver a similar reduction in unemployment.
    a 20,000 target over 5 years means the electorate will be expecting to see the first 8,000 reduction by election 2013. Even given a slower rate of job growth than during Labour’s 3 terms (and historically job growth is faster coming out of a recession) they should achieve this easily barring the Europe situation devolving into GFC Part II.

    I haven’t looked at the other numbers but suspect they are similar – the long term trends for violent crime reduction and educational participation have been trending the right way for almost two decades.

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  23. Bob R (1,254 comments) says:

    ***4.Reduce the number of assaults on children

    1.Halt the 10-year increase in child abuse, and reduce the current numbers by 5%

    7.Reduce the rates of total crime, violent crime and youth crime
    1.Reduce the crime rate by 15% – 45,000 fewer crimes a year
    2.Reduce the violent crime rate by 20% – 7,500 fewer violent crimes a year
    3.Reduce the youth crime rate by 5% – 600 fewer young people appearing in court****

    Difficult to do with the demographic changes and high fertility rates amongst the underclass. Making contraception a condition of the dole might assist.

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  24. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,787 comments) says:

    Insightful commentary from Not PC:

    It’s John Key’s “John Major” moment

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  25. mikenmild (8,917 comments) says:

    The thinking behind these targets is so lame that one wonders why DPF wants to trumpet them. They will be forgotten quicker than the ‘aspiration’ to catch up with Australia or Jim Bolger’s ‘path to 2010′.

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  26. Dave Mann (1,127 comments) says:

    None of this waffle addresses anything to do with the main issues which threaten NZ… the stagnation of production, the death of industry and the lack of invention and entrepreneurship. Until some government works out that these things are important, we will just continue to sink deeper. Instead of growth, these incompetent fuckwits are putting ads on TV telling the country not to use electricity and not to discipline our children. Cunts.

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