Changes to help families get ahead

Waitaki news
Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Almost every Kiwi will be better off thanks to government policies which come into force today, April 1, says Jacqui Dean, MP for Waitaki.

"Gains from our growing economy are now flowing through and as such Paid Parental Leave, parental tax credits, the minimum wage and Superannuation will increase, while average ACC levies will fall and more people will be helped in to home ownership from tomorrow, " the MP said.

Policies now in force include: the Government’s new Home Start scheme to help around 90,000 Kiwis into their first home over the next five years; Paid Parental Leave to increase by two weeks to 16 weeks and another two weeks from April 1 next year; parental tax credits to rise from $150 to $220 a week and entitlement increases from eight to 10 weeks.

Other changes include average ACC levies paid by employers and self-employed people will fall to 90 cents per $100 of liable earnings, down from 95 cents;  New Zealand Superannuation to increase by another 2.07  percent and the adult minimum wage will  rise from 14.25 an hour to $14.75 an hour – a 3.5 per cent increase.

Mrs Dean said more there were more policies to take effect from July 1 including free GP visits and free prescriptions for children under 13. Average ACC levies for private motor vehicles would fall around $135 a year while over the next two years, airline domestic passengers would see a staged decrease in security charges reducing this year by another 11c, to $3.71 with a final reduction made on April 1, 2016.

"I believe the Government is doing a good job in light of continuing heavy demand on the country's resources.  In 2014 80,000 new jobs were created and the average wage grew at 2.5 per cent compared with inflation of 0.8 per cent. By 2018 we expect the average wage to increase by $6,500 to over $62,000.

"Responsible economic management is helping New Zealand families to get ahead," Mrs Dean.