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Wellbeing approach needs more detail

13 DECEMBER 2018

The wellbeing approach revealed at the Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update needs more detail before it can be used to influence policy making, says the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union.

Taxpayers’ Union Economist Joe Ascroft says “Analysing policies through a wellbeing lens will be incredibly difficult.”

“Wellbeing is different for all New Zealanders. Measuring the value and effect of any impact on wellbeing and assessing how we should trade those outcomes off against economic growth will require a series of complicated subjective value judgments.”

“The Government has highlighted loneliness as a wellbeing problem, for example. Designing a policy intervention will require the Government to decide how much loneliness matters to different people, the effect of the intervention on loneliness, and any relevant costs to taxpayers and economic growth.”

“Ironically, while the Budget Policy Statement acknowledges that we largely have a healthy environment and good education and healthcare outcomes, our biggest challenge for wellbeing appears to be poor productivity growth.”

“Strengthening productivity growth will require a focus on the economic fundamentals – capital investment, tax rates, and trade growth. Instead of abandoning the fundamentals, the Government should be doubling down on solving long-run productivity growth, which is the major determinant of incomes for all New Zealanders.”


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