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Treasury opens up discussion on wellbeing measures

22 February 2018

Immediate Release

Treasury opens up discussion on wellbeing measures

A Treasury Paper and four discussion papers published by the Treasury aim to promote and support conversations about wellbeing measures for New Zealand, says Chief Economic Adviser Tim Ng.

The papers published today are:
The Treasury Approach to the Living Standards Framework (Treasury Paper)
Wellbeing Frameworks for the Treasury
The Start of a Conversation on the Value of New Zealand’s Human Capital
The Start of a Conversation on the Value of New Zealand’s Natural Capital
The Start of a Conversation on the Value of New Zealand’s Social Capital

“The papers are part of a programme of Treasury work to further develop our Living Standards Framework. We are beginning to use this framework to consider the collective impact of policies on intergenerational wellbeing, and to help lift the quality of policy and government services from a wellbeing perspective,” Tim Ng says.

“There are many possible ways to understand intergenerational wellbeing. Our approach starts with a definition of current wellbeing, based on the OECD’s “How’s Life” analysis. The four capitals are a way to organise indicators of intergenerational wellbeing. Intergenerational wellbeing relies on the growth, distribution and sustainability of these four capitals: natural, human, social, and physical and financial.

“If we want to have a good grasp on the living standards of New Zealanders, it’s important that we have effective indicators and a strong evidence base on the state of these capitals.

The Treasury Approach to the Living Standards Framework sets out the Treasury’s formal position on understanding and measuring living standards. The other four papers don’t provide an official Treasury view; instead, they provide an overview of international and academic work. The coverage is quite diverse, reflecting the diversity of topics and differences in the state of knowledge.

“We hope the papers published today will stimulate people’s thinking and generate some really useful conversations, not just in academic and public-policy circles but more broadly. We welcome comments on these papers to support our work in bringing different strands together into a cohesive set of wellbeing indicators.

“Looking ahead in 2018, we intend to release further discussion papers covering topics such as resilience, culture, Māori wellbeing, Pasifika wellbeing, and physical and financial capital. We will also discuss progress on the Living Standards Framework work at several forums including the International Conference on Wellbeing and Public Policy in Wellington in September, and develop a wellbeing monitor before the end of the year. This work programme on the Living Standards Framework will support the Government’s intention to amend the Public Finance Act to require reporting on wellbeing measures.”


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