New Zealand’s Finance Minister, Grant Robertson, recently announced details of the nation’s first “Wellbeing Budget”: this national budget includes investment and success measures to pursue issues including mental health, child poverty, indegenous rights, sustainability, improved education and healthcare, and the digital age. The five priorities set out in the Budget are:
- Taking Mental Health Seriously – Supporting mental wellbeing for all New Zealanders, with a special focus on under 24-year-olds
- Improving Child Wellbeing – Reducing child poverty and improving child wellbeing, including addressing family violence
- Supporting Māori and Pasifika Aspirations – Lifting Māori and Pacific incomes, skills and opportunities
- Building a Productive Nation – Supporting a thriving nation in the digital age through innovation, social and economic opportunities
- Transforming the Economy – Creating opportunities for productive businesses, regions, iwi and others to transition to a sustainable and low-emissions economy.
To track progress toward these goals, New Zealand will use 61 indicators including broader measures of success like the health of finances, natural resources, people and communities.
The Government is of the opinion that a powerful economy is not an accurate indicator of welfare. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that GDP alone “does not guarantee improvement to living standards”. The new budget is thus designed to keep in mind all those that are left behind in the race towards economic growth.