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Ministerial foreword

Steve Maharey, Minister for Social Development andEmployment. The Government welcomes the publication of The Social Report 2005. The social report sets out a framework for considering social wellbeing in New Zealand and provides us with important information about what is happening to the quality of life of New Zealanders. With the addition in the report of new data on wellbeing at a regional authority level, we can also see how different parts of the country are faring. This type of information helps to identify, at both a national and subnational level, areas where progress is being made and areas where further attention may be needed.

The Social Report 2005 not only confirms the ongoing pattern of improvement in the health, knowledge and skills and paid work domains illustrated in previous reports, but it also shows striking improvements in the living standards of New Zealanders since 2001. Providing better support to low-income families, through for example the introduction of income-related rents, has been a priority for this Government since we first came to office in 1999, and it is exciting to see these policies beginning to pay dividends. The marked reduction in child poverty rates is something that I am particularly pleased to see. This Government is confident there will be further improvements in the circumstances of low and middle income families over the next few years with the progressive roll-out of our Working for Families programme and the initiatives announced in the 2005 Budget.

The Government is committed to improving the quality of life of New Zealanders and to creating a more prosperous and inclusive society. The social report will continue to help monitor progress towards the achievement of this vision.

Steve Maharey

Steve Maharey
Minister for Social Development and Employment