Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Measuring wellbeing – not just GDP - why and how?


One of New Zealand’s most established economic research agencies, BERL, will explore the Government’s intention for a Wellbeing Budget next year at its inaugural annual wānanga in Wellington on August 23.

The 2019 Budget has been heralded by the Minister of Finance as The Wellbeing Budget.

BERL chief economist Dr Ganesh Nana sees the wānanga as an opportunity to examine what a wellbeing Budget might mean in practical terms, especially when a budget is more normally understood to be all about dollars and cents.

“We are looking forward to hearing from the Ministers of Finance, Māori Development and local government on their perspectives on wellbeing and to address related questions,” Dr Nana says.

“The government says it is committed to putting people's wellbeing and the environment at the heart of its policies, including reporting against a wider set of wellbeing indicators in future Budgets.

“In terms of why the change, a shift away from GDP seems well warranted. Nevertheless, there are many economists who hold onto GDP like a security blanket, reluctant to venture outside their comfort zone and into the unknown.

“And, importantly, GDP remains internationally comparable. With the primacy of GDP and so of dollars and cents, policy decisions can be simply boiled down to calculating cost-benefit ratios; or, crudely, choose policies that give the biggest bang for each buck.

“Equally, many economists will concede that the GDP measure is a poor proxy for prosperity. GDP tells us little about how prosperity is distributed across groups in the population; and not much about environment degradation that may have occurred as collateral damage in achieving the stated GDP.

“Nor does it tell us about non-market, non-monetary activities such as voluntary work and stay-at-home parents. With these omissions and discrepancies, are policy decisions based on maximum contribution to GDP justified?

“Sticking to narrow GDP measures means spending on environment remediation don’t stand a chance, and investment in te reo revitalisation remains an incredibly difficult sell, while unpaid family or whānau caring for disabled or elderly are effectively invisible.

“But, there appears no obvious replacement to GDP. Going down the wellbeing route could suggest an assessment of the value of these broader perspectives on prosperity. However, this route is by no means clear cut.

“There are numerous questions that immediately arise. What does wellbeing entail? And whose wellbeing (or prosperity) are we measuring – yours, mine, family, whānau, hapū, community, nation? And, is it indeed measurable?

“And what of the wellbeing frameworks already in place in agencies and institutions around the country? Of course, there will be some who will not want a bar of this. There will be cynics that see talk of Wellbeing driving Budget decisions as being the road to expenditure that yields poor value for taxpayers’ money.”

Dr Nana hopes the wānanga will be a good opportunity for the Ministers to hear from a range of stakeholders and, equally, for attendees to assess whether this is part of the promised transformational government, or is it merely a window-dressing exercise to make this administration look different?

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Crowdsale And Crowdfunding Campaign: Help Create The Future Of Independent News

Two weeks to go! The Scoop 3.0 plan aims to create NZ’s first community-owned, distributed news and media intelligence ecosystem in 2019. We believe this ScoopPro media monetisation approach can be scaled and spread globally to support local and independent news efforts in regional New Zealand and around the world.

Scoop is an ecosystem, it would not exist without those who contribute to it, read it and rely on it for professional media purposes. Generous past support from this ecosystem has enabled us to come this far in developing our business model. Support our PledgeMe Campaign>>

 

14/11: Two Years’ Progress Since The Kaikoura Earthquake

Mayor John Leggett said it was a day for reflection, but also a time to recognise the work by many people to support progress towards recovery made across Marlborough since November 2016. More>>

ALSO:

Pike River: Mine Drift Re-Entry Plan To Proceed

“I’ve decided the Te Kāhui Whakamana Rua Tekau Mā Iwa - Pike River Recovery Agency, recommended course of action to enter the drift, using the existing access tunnel, is by far the safest option,” said Andrew Little. More>>

ALSO:

Appointments: New High Commissioner To Australia Announced

“Dame Annette King needs no introduction given her long running career as a parliamentarian where she has previously held a number senior Cabinet portfolios, including Justice, Police and Health. She also was Parliament’s longest serving female MP with 30 years’ service,” said Mr Peters. More>>

ALSO:

Two Years Since Kaikoura: Silvia Cartwright To Lead Inquiry Into EQC

“The inquiry will be the first of its kind under the Public Inquiries Act 2013 and will have all the powers of a Royal Commission, be independent of Government and make its report directly to the Governor-General. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Royal Commission Into Child Abuse

Obviously, it is good news that the coalition government has broadened the scope of its Royal Commission into the abuse of children, beyond its previous focus on children in state care. More>>

ALSO:

Cases Delayed: Court Staff Refuse To Handle Sentencing Papers

Dozens of court cases have reportedly been delayed, as court staff escalate industrial action at two Auckland courts by enforcing a ban on handling sentencing papers. More>>

ALSO:

Education: Primary Teachers Rolling Strikes

RNZ Report: More than 100,000 primary school students in Auckland will be home from school today as teachers and principals walk off the job for the second time this year. It's the start of a week of rolling one-day strikes around the country, after the collapse of contract negotiations last Thursday. More>>

ALSO:

"Process Was Sound": Inquiry Into Haumaha Appointment Released

The Inquiry’s purpose was to examine, identify, and report on the adequacy of the process that led to the appointment. It found the process was sound and no available relevant information was omitted. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels