A wellbeing approach to assessing the Government’s balance sheet

The 2018 Investment Statement He Puna Hao Pātiki, shows how the Treasury is moving towards a more holistic way of assessing the Government’s balance sheet, by incorporating principles from the Living Standards Framework alongside financial considerations, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says.

Under the Public Finance Act, the Treasury is required to report every four years on the past, present and forecast future value of the Government's assets and liabilities. The 2018 Investment Statement shows that the Government’s balance sheet is healthy and resilient, meaning it is well-placed to handle adverse shocks. A net worth of $117 billion as at 30 June 2017 is forecast to rise to $160 billion by 2022.

“It is important that we continue to monitor this progress, as the Investment Statement allows New Zealanders to assess how the Government is managing assets and liabilities on their behalf,” Grant Robertson says.

“But it is also important for us to start taking a more holistic view of how we assess what the Government owns. In the past this document has looked at the Government’s balance sheet from a purely financial perspective. The Treasury is now starting to also look at the link between the Government’s investments and peoples’ wellbeing.

“I welcome the fact that the Treasury has taken this opportunity to paint a more comprehensive picture of the Government’s balance sheet by incorporating the Living Stands Framework principles into a section of the Investment Statement, including natural capital considerations.

“While this work is still in its early stages, I’m excited that the Treasury is continuing to lead the world when it comes to putting wellbeing and living standards at the centre of how the Government functions,” Grant Robertson says.