(National Party media release)

Social investment will be the organising framework for the next National Government’s approach to the funding and delivery of social services, said National’s Social Investment Spokesperson Nicola Willis in a Guest Lecture hosted by Victoria University today.

“Kids ram-raiding shopping malls, thousands of families living in motel rooms and cars, soaring truancy rates, and a growing list of social problems are of great concern to New Zealanders.

“Despite the increasing billions spent on well-intended programmes, endless Government strategies and thousands more people employed to help, traditional public systems and services are still failing many New Zealanders in most need of community support.

“I’m determined that the next National Government will bring the Social Investment approach back to life. The basic idea underpinning Social Investment is that if Government intervenes earlier and more effectively for our most disadvantaged citizens then their lives could be so much better. 

“National’s Social Investment approach will identify, fund and scale up the actions that will have the most positive impact on people in the long run. It will make use of sophisticated data and evaluation approaches to identify what works and, crucially, what doesn’t.

“This bold new approach to delivering social services will be supported by a new Social Investment Fund. The Social Investment Fund will invest in programmes that promise to change the lives of New Zealanders with the greatest needs. It will start small and scale up over time.

“Initial funding would be provided by Government through the Budget process, and would be topped-up each year, including by redeploying funding from any Government initiatives that may have received disappointing social impact evaluations.

“I can imagine, for example, a National Government might deploy the Social Investment Fund to tackle the task of delivering secure, sustainable housing for people currently living for extended periods in emergency housing. 

“My hope is that the Social Investment Fund would become so effective at delivering results that ultimately New Zealanders seeking positive social change for the disadvantaged might choose to invest their funds with it. 

“There could be huge power in combining the forces of Government social investment experience with the capital and expertise of the philanthropic and charitable sector.

“I want results. If private capital can be better deployed to help change the lives of more New Zealanders, then I will not be afraid to use it. The next National Government will be focused on doing what works.”