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Kei te pēhea tātou? Tracking NZ’s wellbeing and development

Wellbeing is about how happy, healthy, wealthy, and sustainable we are, and figures for what matters most to Kiwis are now being held in one place, Stats NZ said today.

Stats NZ’s new website Ngā Tūtohu Aotearoa – Indicators Aotearoa New Zealand has a wide range of social, environmental, and economic indicators showing how well we are doing as a country.

The website includes indicators that will help provide an independent and transparent picture of wellbeing and sustainable development in New Zealand.

“Ngā Tūtohu Aotearoa is for all New Zealanders. We heard and considered a range of perspectives through our consultation and peer review, and are grateful for the support and feedback we received throughout that process,” Government Statistician Liz MacPherson said.

“We are confident this is a strong indicator set that represents what matters to New Zealanders. These indicators bring together a range of subjective and objective measures that national and international research shows are important for understanding and evaluating wellbeing,” Ms MacPherson said.

The Minister of Statistics has acknowledged Stats NZ’s work on Ngā Tūtohu Aotearoa – Indicators Aotearoa New Zealand, saying it will provide a broader measure of wellbeing and success.

“While economic growth, balance of payments, and the state of the Crown accounts are important, they don’t show what life is really like for New Zealanders. And they don’t necessarily represent what is most important to most people,” Minister James Shaw said.

“So we want to know what matters to New Zealanders and to their whānau, both now and in the future.”

Stats NZ has worked with community groups, independent experts, businesses, and the government sector to help choose the best indicators. The selection of indicators was deliberately not driven by the availability of data. Instead, Stats NZ took a wider approach when seeing what matters most to New Zealanders. The initial set of indicators includes gaps in data and limitations in the ability to break the data down to levels that are meaningful to different communities.

“Knowing where the data gaps are within the indicators helps us understand where more effort is needed to measure what matters,” Minister Shaw said.

This is the first step on a journey. Stats NZ’s ongoing development of the indicators includes a partnership relationship to embed te ao Māori perspectives.

“It’s important the indicators are inclusive across many diverse perspectives and are not set in stone,” Ms MacPherson said.

“Stats NZ will work with stakeholders to understand data gaps and how they can be addressed. This work will be provided to the Government for consideration.”

The selection of indicators was based on the Conference of European Statisticians Recommendations on Measuring Sustainable Development (CES framework). This framework was assessed as the most appropriate framework to underpin Ngā Tūtohu Aotearoa – Indicators Aotearoa New Zealand.

Key benefits of the CES include its up-to-date concepts and structure and ability to measure sustainable development, the ability to tailor it to a New Zealand context by allowing flexibility in topics included, and ability to measure wellbeing across three conceptual dimensions of current, future, and impact on the rest of the world.

Ngā Tūtohu Aotearoa – Indicators Aotearoa New Zealand will function as the data source that underpins government frameworks, such as The Treasury’s Living Standards Framework and Dashboard. It will also support cross-government initiatives and New Zealand’s international reporting requirements, such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

“The indicators will be useful for local and regional councils, and for all New Zealanders to better understand New Zealand’s progress, wellbeing, and sustainable development,” Ms MacPherson said.

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