Wellbeing of New Zealanders at the heart of Budget priorities

Improving the wellbeing of current and future New Zealanders will be the focus of Budget 2019, Finance Minister Grant Robertson said on Thursday.

“The Coalition Government is doing things differently. We want a wellbeing focus to drive the decisions we make about Government policies and Budget initiatives. This means looking beyond traditional measures - such as GDP - to a wider set of indicators of success,” Grant Robertson said.

“Under the Government’s wellbeing approach, the development of Budget priorities represents a new way of working and of thinking about how we develop our priorities as a Government, and measure our success as a country,” Grant Robertson said.

“Using the Treasury’s Living Standards Framework (LSF), evidence from sector-based experts and the Government’s Science Advisors, and with collaboration among public sector agencies and Ministers, we have identified five priorities for the Wellbeing Budget,” Grant Robertson said.

The five Priorities for Budget 2019 are:

  • Creating opportunities for productive businesses, regions, iwi and others to transition to a sustainable and low-emissions economy
  • Supporting a thriving nation in the digital age through innovation, social and economic opportunities
  • Lifting Māori and Pacific incomes, skills and opportunities
  • Reducing child poverty and improving child wellbeing, including addressing family violence
  • Supporting mental wellbeing for all New Zealanders, with a special focus on under 24-year-olds.

“These priorities are focussed on the outcomes that will make real improvements to New Zealanders’ wellbeing,” Grant Robertson said.

“All Ministers and agencies will be collectively responsible for delivering on the priorities. For the first time, they are being tasked with developing their own Budget bids through the lens of the priorities. They are being asked to work together, across portfolios, on initiatives that will deliver the outcomes identified by the priorities.

“New Zealanders will see a difference with next year’s Budget. It will show how we are building an economy that is more productive, more sustainable and more inclusive,” Grant Robertson said.

“Strong economic fundamentals and sustainable economic growth remain integral to New Zealand’s success but they are a means to an end, not an end in themselves. We are widening our Budget focus to look at the wellbeing of our people, the health of our environment and the strength of our communities,” Grant Robertson said.

The guidance issued to Ministers and departments can be found here:  https://treasury.govt.nz/publications/budget-policy-statement/budget-policy-statement-2019