Breaking news: Inflation in September stronger than RBNZ expectations at 0.7% quarter-on-quarter and 1.5% year-on-year More soon.

Next year’s ‘Wellbeing Budget’ will be a world first and has already caught the attention of leading economists from all over the world

Next year’s ‘Wellbeing Budget’ will be a world first and has already caught the attention of leading economists from all over the world

One of the world’s foremost economic wellbeing experts says the OECD will be watching next year’s Budget “like a hawk” as New Zealand makes history with its first “Wellbeing Budget.”

On Thursday, Conal Smith of Kōtātā Insight released his report on how wellbeing should be integrated into Government’s future Budgets.

He is recommending the Treasury, which commisioned him to write the report, adopts his proposals but is encouraging input from other interested parties.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson revealed in December’s “mini-Budget” the Government would next year be making wellbeing a core part of future Budgets.

“We want to measure the success of our economy better – we aren’t satisfied with just measuring GDP growth,” he told the mini-Budget lock-up.

“While [GDP growth] is a good measure of activity in the economy, it doesn’t tell us enough, or indeed very much at all, about the quality of the activity in our economy.”

Accounting for wellbeing is expected to provide a baseline to help measure the quality of activity.

Although other countries, such as the UK, have incorporated wellbeing indicators at a local government level, it has never been done by a central Government.

Because of this, Smith says the OECD and other major world economies will be keeping a close eye on New Zealand come Budget time next year.

Specifically, the likes of the UK, Korea, Mexico, Israel and Austria; which have all been exploring the wellbeing frameworks within their economies.

“A lot of those countries look at New Zealand and are saying ‘okay, this has gone a step further than we did, how is it working and what can we learn from it,’” Smith says.

He adds that it’s likely other countries will use New Zealand as a case study in implementing wellbeing into their Budget and policy frameworks.

“New Zealand isn’t going to be a lab animal for reform for the next decade.

“At the moment, I wouldn’t say we’re running off into the woods, but we’re taking it one step further than others.”

Building on what we’ve got

Smith’s report includes a proposed ‘dashboard’ which covers a range of elements and specific indicators of living standards and intergenerational wellbeing in New Zealand.

While this independent report does not represent Government policy or Treasury advice, it provides a “strong foundation for discussion and generating well-informed feedback,” says the Treasury’s Chief Economic Adviser Tim Ng.

“In other words, it is an attempt to provide a measure of each dimension of the Living Standards Framework,” Smith says in his report.

He says the Treasury would need to consider at least 40 indicators, including health, housing, jobs and earnings, safety and environmental quality.

The good news is Statistics New Zealand and other official bodies already collect much of the data Smith is recommending be used for the indicators.

“There is not a large cost in doing this and [no need for] getting massive amounts of new data. This is about how we use the information we have in a structured way.”

Treasury is seeking submissions on the report which can be submitted between June 7 and July 31.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.


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Thank goodness our overlords are in power to advise us on what constitutes our well being. I was getting scared there for a second I might have to decide that for myself!

“He is recommending the Treasury, which commisioned him to write the report, adopts his proposals but is encouraging input from other interested parties.” - 4.7 million interested parties?


Well done.
GDP is a useless measure. Probably no better evidenced then by the fact that the person who invented it, spent the rest of his life discrediting it and trying to convince people not to use it. It was invented to measure the industrial activity in wartime. It has very little relevance otherwise. And doesn't even measure that especially well.
What is the point of gearing an economy, governmental policy, education, health and almost everything to a measure that regards a natural disaster as a positive. War as a positive. A broken window, as a positive. Pointless consumption as a positive. Environmental degradation as a positive.
It's utterly ridiculous and should have been done away with as soon as the second world war finished.
But humans and our love of simplistic headline metrics.......

Same reason crows like shiny objects.

What if WW2 never really finished? It's one of my pet theories.

Insurance payouts and infrastructure rebuilding after a devastating earthquake in Christchurch as a positive. An futile economy propped up by flipping homes for exorbitant prices, paying commissions to agents, fees and interest to banks - positive. Reducing per capita consumption across the nation because of lower wages but more than making up for it with higher profits and a larger population - positive!

About bloody time! While not politically aligned, I have been very impressed with Robertson's rhetoric on what the current Government want to achieve. What this article suggests is that the rest of the world has also come to realise that the "free market" fundamentally does not work, and they are now looking at ways to roll it back. NZ is probably the first country to address the issues constructively (as opposed to Trumps inflammatory approach) so people are interested to see how we approach the issue. The article says NZ isn't going to be a lab animal, but in reality it will be, but others will also try their own approaches as well, and we'll be able to learn from them as well.

The "free market" doesn't work - that's simply false. The free market is the best system and probably the only system that will ever work.

Where is this "free market" though? (No regulatory influence, no insider trading, no monopolistic/anti-competitive behaviour, no threat of sanctions, no fake news etc etc)

That's sort of the problem with the statement "The free market doesn't work". We don't have one so which part isn't working the free market part or the part were government keeps interjecting. I'd suggest the later.

Hmmm, don't think so Grendel. Market signals are only good at the here & now, short term aspects of a trade. Without full intel the price signal is incomplete and often meaningless in reality.

I mean where is the market for air pollution? If I pollute who do I pay to rectify it? Where is the party who will buy my pollution? There isn't one.

Free Market might be like a Libertarian society though: not really practically going to happen - or stay happened for long. Too many distorting influences, not just government but any groups with power and money.

ditto communism....

Agree. We forever orbit around the centre or scutter under dictatorship.

I think you are confusing chaos with a free market. A market by its nature has some rules - to facilitate the free exchange of goods and services between free individuals. The idea that human behavior tends towards evil, which I do not dispute, is not the same as there is no free market. We have a free market in NZ and it works well overall. Despite humans doing evil things.

Well said that man.

Or women as the case may be.

The free market for oil does not price in the global warming impacts
The free market for milk does not price in the river pollution cleanup
America's free market for healthcare is the best value?

But that's the point. The market for oil isn't free, it is dictated largely by OPEC. It is also dictated by subsidies, tariffs, and sanctions. These are human interference's, the market does not need sanctions to find a price for oil. And they do not naturally occur, people put them there.
I don't think the monopoly that Fonterra enables makes a particularly free or fair market for milk. Certainly the fact that I pay more here for milk than a person in the UK doesn't seem to imply that the market is working very efficiently for milk, at least not for me. I share the pollution with the farmers, but living in the city, see little of their profit and pay more for my milk because it is shipped elsewhere. Thanks Fonterra.
And where do you get a free market for health care in the US? It is heavily distorted by incentives and penalties. Which is why it is hugely inefficient.
Your point about the market not pricing in the environmental damage done by the use of oil or the production of milk, is very reasonable. But, to take the case of milk, it is the fact that farmers have been allowed to do what ever they want for a long time that has lead us here. And that is not because farmers are bad but because for a long time we have been ignorant of the damage we are doing. If we say that a farmer has to pay for the damage he or she caused because of soil degradation, erosion or allowing a heap of cow shite to run into rivers, then milk would not be so cheap as farmers would put that into the price. And people would not be so easily able to buy it. So the demand would fall. So there would be less farming.
We have not understood the true cost. But that is not a failure of the mechanism. Equally as the supply of clean rivers has dropped the demand for them seems to have increased. So the price of that is being weighed against the price of milk. It all seems to be working quite well really maybe a little bit late, but it's getting there.
Blaming the market, is like blaming the chain for breaking because the weight was too heavy. It feels like lazy thinking to me.
We have simply not put a value on clean rivers, because we have always had them. Now we have less of them and we don't want that. If we say the value of a clean river is zero then a farmer will pollute that river and it will not effect the price of his milk. If we say that clean rivers are very valuable and therefore clean rivers have to be maintained, the market will happily process that into a price and milk will cost more. The market can easily integrate values (even esoteric human based values), it doesn't have to be based solely on basic utility. But you have to put a value on things to get a price. You can't blame the market for coming up with the wrong price if you have interfered with it in a clumsy one sided way.
I would argue that we have nowhere near enough market. There should be a price on every single thing in the universe. And ultimately there is with the laws of thermodynamics. But that is a different discussion.

Right on Hamish - it's like a unicorn - often talked about but it never actually existed.

Pretty certain Ricardo or someone made that up in some writing about imaginary trade deals between Portugal & England in like 1800 - seems really relevant to NZ in 2018.

"The free market is the best system and probably the only system that will ever work."

Here's a slice of history that completely refutes that statement. Isolated NZ with a small population, a tough & challenging terrain, with very little in the way of natural resources, built a world class infrastructure - roads, rail, bridges, tunnels - by pooling our resources.

For more recent examples, look no further than the failure of the electricity reforms of the 1990s and subjecting public health and public transport to competitive models - neither of which were broken at the time reforms were introduced!

I have no problem with the "free market" if I'm buying a car or a telly. The mistake that's been made over the last 30 years is to apply that particular ideology to areas of life where there is a 'public good', where it's consistently produced worse results.

Here's another slice of history. Many of those modes you quote - roads, rail, bridges, tunnels - to which I would add the original productive enterprises - freezing works, farms, sawmills, ships and horse-and-dray teams - were created and operated by private companies, funded by overseas punters and by the conversion of immense natural resources (kauri forests in the north, rimu and matai in the south) into tradeables. That was, after all, during the Victorian Age, noted for its energy, innovation, and perserverance. Gubmints and 'pooled resources' are a much later development.

Primers to read:
Cavalcade of New Zealand Locomotives, which has a rich catalogue of the many private raliway companies.
Empire, Niall Ferguson - a good purview
How the Scots invented the modern world - Arthur Herman. As a Scots derivative meself, I concur.
Pinker, Enlightenment Now - a good antidote to the DGM and the bewailers of modernity.

Well, you absolutely spanked him.

"Gubmints and 'pooled resources' are a much later development"

Are they? If you'd cited a good NZ history source I'd have been impressed. Instead you've joined the dots and come up with a rather selective 'analysis'.

The Victorians were a pragmatic lot as well as being all those things you cited. "Progressive colonialism" was on the lips of NZers of that era - a close partnership between government and business. To keep the show on the road government borrowed and spent to assist business - with taxpayer dollars. Roads between cities so all those 'entrepreneurs' could do business overland instead of having to rely solely on treacherous coastal shipping to move their goods around.

There were no privately built roads in NZ during that era.

By the 1870s Julius Vogel had thrown the Victorian rulebook out the window in his belief that government enterprise could expand the economy faster than the private sector alone and commenced the first wave of large public works schemes in our history. I'm afraid you won't pick that up in the 'Cavalcade of NZ Locomotives'.

As the daughter of a (Scots) civil Engineer, thanks for the heads-up on the Arthur Herman! I already own a copy of 'Empire', but unfortunately am unable to cope with Niall's revisionism except in small doses. Cheers!

"By the 1870s Julius Vogel had thrown the Victorian rulebook out the window in his belief that government enterprise could expand the economy faster than the private sector alone and commenced the first wave of large public works schemes in our history".........the irony is that NO government can expand anything faster than the private sector as it is the private sector who generates the tax-base that funds and pays for all that public spending.......and all this givermint spending expansion actually led to many financial crisis events throughout NZs early history.

"the irony is that NO government can expand anything faster than the private sector"

Did I say that? Try again.

GB, I'll explain, kindly. Much of what we now see as completed ports, roads, drains, tunnels, bridges and other 'link' infrastructure, started out life as private means to transport ends. Miners built tramways, bridges tunnels, races, roads, sludge channels everywhere from Coromandel to Preservation Inlet. Loggers built tramways, bridges, skid roads, bullock tracks, and corduroy roads to both get at the timber, and to get the sawn results to the nearest (usually) beach, port or (sometimes) town. Later, these flung-together ad-hoc private trails were either absorbed into formalised roads, easements and structures, most often with upgrades, or were abandoned to melt back into the second growth. I can still take Interested parties to a Southland gravel road where the timber tramway sleepers stick out of the crown after a grader has scraped it back. (I used to maintain roads, so take an interest in such things). All this activity was done with little more from central authorities than a mining or logging permit. Much still remains: century-old races in Central Otago still irrigate orchards and farms.

And the resources were (and are) still there for the taking: minerals, coal, timber, farming once cleared land started producing, So it's not that there were no resources. The place was oozing with 'em.

What then happened was, after that first flush of exploration and exploitation, a tidy-up phase, where Roads Board, Drainage Boards and other tiny, local entities formalised, surveyed, upgraded, and took responsibility for the more useful of these early forays. I can recall seeing a Roads Board bond, out of some tiny locality in Southland, that paid 8%. The real Central Government involvement did not (and, practically could not) start until the abolition of the Provinces in 1876. Certainly not in any widespread, purposeful sense. All was very local (Provincial) up till that point. The Vogel Era story does a good job of relating the state of affairs circa 1873, at the nadir of the old Provinces. But by then, the main exploration, track-forming and activity was over.

So, yes, there was 'pooled resources' - the shippers, loggers, miners, farmers, and the multitude of commerce that came along to feed, clothe, and buy from them. The little Roads Boards, composed of the local farmers and businessfolk. The Provinces, with a colourful history of mis-steps and characters, pulled this way and that by everything from the gold rushes, to the growing towns, never funded adequately, and always on the brink of insolvency.

More reading:
Goldfields of Otago. I have a small touch of gold fever meself, and this makes fascinating reading.
Viaducts against the sky - the story of Port Craig, which grew out of the Brownlee's Marlborough Timber Company.
Kauri to Radiata - a wide ranging history of the NZ timber industry.

I personally mourn the destruction of our bush: much of it on land that proved wildly unsuitable for anything except more trees, and then the replantings, such as they were, tended to be of the wrong sort: poster child, Tolaga Bay. I grow on natives (and banksia) and guerilla-plant our local reserves along the beach in partial recompense as a tiny personal gesture.

Those early entrepreneurs quite literally carved NZ into what we see today. They had the gleam of gold, coal, timber and assorted metals in their eyes, and went after them. In the cool gaze of today's zeitgeist, they may not appear heroic. But we are standing on their shoulders, nevertheless.

"Kindly?" no need to patronise waymad ;-)

I enjoyed reading your post. However I just don't accept that those "early entrepreneurs quite literally carved NZ into what we see today." Again, it's a selective narrative that lacks contextual analysis.

Why the denial that government had a role to play in the development of vital infrastructure? It was needed and they built it because they had the oversight and could amass the capital required to build quickly.

I can remember driving on the old Napier-Taupo road (built on the bones of the old coach roads that were in turn originally Maori trading routes) when it was a 5 hr gravel road trip. I much prefer to drive on the 1 hour 20 minute deviation that was put through in the early 1970s thanks to the nation-builders of the post-war era - the civil engineers like my old dad - who were employed by councils to build public works like roads and sewage disposal schemes.

Thanks for the book recommendations.

The "free market" worked great for CO2 emissions and slavery and child labor and health regulations for food and airplane safety. The free market made sure all worked fine. The free market is never greedy and never ignores human health and rights. That's why there are no sweatshops and not child workers in Asia and Africa building your phones and clothes right now. No laws to protect consumers are needed since nobody would create fake baby food from harmful chemicals or put cheap lead based paint on toys or put industrial preservatives in baby powder to make a few bucks extra. That never happens. 8 hour working days and universal suffrage would just have evolved naturally right, so no regulations are ever needed. Right?

Clearly elected officials, informed decision-making and regulations are the more evil party here.

CO2, slavery and child labour were all supported by laws.
Disentangling the causation is very difficult.

CO2 emissions - Heavily subsidised fossil fuel energy production that has been going on for decades now.
Slavery - enshrined in law for many centuries.
Child labour - again enshrined in law.

The issues you mention - food safety, chemicals, etc - aren't necessarily the product of a free market. They are the product of a lack of adequate punishment or recompense for their provision.
Essentially this an argument of risk of harm and liability. In many ways, again this could be considered to be lowered by regulation - further incentivising it.

No one is arguing that a true free market exists or that one is even possible.
Those on the free market side are merely taking the scientific view that regulation and many of the bad things you mention are difficult to disentangle in terms of causality.

The free market works just fine. If it is free. What part of the market is actually free from all encumbrances, to find the most efficient way of pricing something? Look at the market for interest rates set by an "independent" central bank. The most fundamental market in our system the price of money. Heavily, influenced by politics and pseudo science.
Markets do not fail. Capitalism does not fail. I am not politically aligned either and I strongly suspect Communism doesn't fail.
People fail. Then they blame something else.

Firstly to those commenters above to my comment, the Free Market model is all about being free of Government regulation. What this means is that it can be manipulated by the players with no restraint, and as at least one commenter points out, is. So in reality it has never been "free". What it needs to be is "Fair" and this is the point of regulation, preventing people from being shafted by the big players - the comment above re Fonterra being a case in point.

Because it is not fair, the players price their goods and services at a level they think the market can bear, and will manoeuvre to ensure that is at the highest level possible. this is achieved by working to achieve a monopoly, or colluding with the apparent competition. It doesn't take much to see this occurring, even in little NZ. Many companies have become very good at doing this, inflating apparent costs, or trying to look independent when in reality they are anything but. Some of the big american companies are very good examples, Apple is one. The banks are another. I for one do not believe that a near $1 billion profit by just one of the big banks in NZ is not somehow gouging us! Just because I don't know how they are doing it (where they are profiteering) doesn't mean it is not being done.

The free market is a market where arbitrary regulation does not exist AND there exists no potential for monopoly or monopsony power.
The latter means that there is no chance of agents manipulating the system through the use of the former.
Both of these are equally important tenets of the free market. It is not just the absence of governmental regulation.

'Fair' isn't a consideration because the truly free market with few barriers to entry and exit along with freedom of bid and offer choices inherently implies a fair distribution of goods.
The 'fair' you are talking about is one that arises through stupid market intervention to achieve some single nominal goal, with inevitable adverse consequences.

No you are wrong, and the fact you only see this artificial construct of this thing called "free market" as existing makes you as deluded as the left wingers thinking "communism" can work in the real world.

One of the biggest assumptions is a person(s) cannot corner a market and then abuse that power when in fact this clearly is the case in the real world. Govn regulation can go a way to fix that. Is Govn regulation and "interference" perfect? no, but its preferable to sitting back and watching ppl getting badly exploited.

I never said it existed at all.
I contested the fact that murray's comments were again misguided in his understanding.

Welfare loss (what you mean by 'exploitation', I guess) occurs due to imperfect trading conditions (that we can prove), and regulation and market power are likely an endogenous relationship.
In that regard, any and all increases in regulation are going to be closely related with the growth of big business.

totally agree.

Well being?! - What a load of BS.
If you measure well-being then measure it against the losses of freedom and liberty.
You can't do anything in this shit hole of a country that doesn't require some sort of bureaucratic permission, licensing, payments, and endless record keeping and hoop jumping.

New Zealand the country that can't even hold a free election! No - we allow our election system to be encumbered by hidden agreements and non-disclosed agendas. No upfront disclosure prior to elections is not a free election and that is what is vital to the people's well-being!!

Measure enslavement. The people doing the real work the kind of work that generates the tax base are being abused and enslaved more and more daily by Marxist party faithfuls all vying for positions of superiority over the tax base generators.

Measure enslavement. The people doing the real work the kind of work that generates the tax base are being abused and enslaved more and more daily by Marxist party faithfuls all vying for positions of superiority over the tax base generators.

It's all these old codgers who received free education, healthcare, government-boosted housing supply that they've received hundreds of thousands in tax-free unearned income from - and now want to confiscate our wages in their Marxist way and have them for themselves regardless of need just because they've reached an arbitrary age.

"Did it all on their own two feet and never receive anything from the state", of course, but still enslave young Kiwis - via student debt that was necessary to provide the oldies' tax cuts, and via confiscating their wages afterwards.

Too right.

If you did your homework Rick Straus you'd find that most of those old codgers you talk about left school early some as young as 12 and went to work!

Percentage wise the majority did not get tertiary educated rather they entered the more physical labour jobs of the time, while paying horrendous taxes that was spent on all the infrastructure you enjoy today!

I don't see why there should be free tertiary education. People who leave school and take on the development of their skills do it all on their own. Same with people who enter into business they take on the debt or whatever and then use their skills etc.....yet when it comes to education there are always those demanding a subsidised lifestyle at the expense of those who choose skills-based or business-based lifestyles.

Yeah, didn’t have to waste years and 10s of thousands of debt to get credentials for an interview for an average job. The inflation in education requirements has benefited the education industry and employers, not the average worker.

And no they didn’t pay horrendous taxes. The size of government as a % GDP has changed little over the years. Though taxation is much less progressive now (GST, SLs, user pays & stealth taxes).

I actually did do my research on that a while back, and there were also plenty receiving degrees. Keep in mind folk like Dr Lockwood Smith and all that cohort (and more recent politicians heading economics failing Stephen Joyce) received their education for free. Meanwhile, as you note, companies were also perfectly willing to take people out of school and invest money in training them for their jobs (though many also then did tertiary education later - again, for free and with far more generous assistance than today).

Now companies - many owned and run by those folks who received that - too often demand a university degree as a base requirement rather than being willing to take young Kiwis from school and train them. When you enter business, too, you can deduct the costs of training etc. - something you cannot do as an individual student.

Demanding a subsidised taking earnings from those recently graduated young folk now working, and handing it over to older folk who received their education for free and now receive a pension. Imagine how different voting would be if everyone had to pay the same for their degree even if they received it in the past - i.e. if older voters would have to recompense the state for the free university study they received in the past.

I'd certainly hope that recompense would be inflation adjusted.

Perhaps suicide (and possibly mental health stats although not easily objective) should be the measure of 'well-being' as they are the real reflection of how bearable our society is to exist within....If people are depressed and want to end their time in the society, then it's a clear indicator that we haven't got things right. I.e. the values and principles governing our society are either making the people happy or they are making the people unhappy.

If those stats improve, then it could indicate that we are on a healthier path? If they deteriorate, then we're off course.

Too right, we should measure the things we are really bad at and shine a light in dark places. The Nats and Labour before them love GDP which goes up because there are more people. Is New Zealand better now it is more crowded, or is it actually a step backwards when it takes 3 times as long to get to the beach?

Some other suggestions
1 Time it takes to get to the beach in summer.
2 Square metres of housing per person
3 Time wasted in traffic per person per annum
4 Price of housing per square metre
5 Rural land destroyed in hectares by urbanisation
6 Rural land destroyed by industry, mining, etc

Absolutely, first class suggestion. Simple KPIs rather than some blather about economic activity - did the people of Chch feel better off after the earthquakes? According to GDP there was a lot of economic activity after that event.

"He who would trade liberty for some temporary security, deserves neither liberty nor security".
It's a nice quote but then Ben Franklin ran slaves. He changed his mind because of the economics not the ethics.
I don't think this country is a shit-hole. I hardly think we are enslaved either, neither now, nor under the last government. And I do real work (at least I think I do I am not sure what real work means) that generates tax base.
Marx was a smart man and said some very pertinent things. Particularly his views on the problems that inequality causes, are bang on and have been shown to be bang on again and again. It would be good if people actually read and understood Marx, instead of just using his name as a swearword. Or labeling anything that isn't middle-to-far-right as Marxist.
I think the point of well being is it means a lot of things to a lot of people. So you need to measure a number of things and put them together somehow.
One thing that does not factor very heavily into human well being is measuring the gross amount of stuff we make in a year. It does not tell you if people are getting enough to eat. Or if they are healthy. Or well educated. Well trained. Or secure. Or dry and warm. And those are basic needs without getting into the more difficult to define wants of fulfillment, respect or happiness. Of course, it tells you nothing about those things as well.
Whatever your political leaning or regard for the system we have you should be able to recognise that GDP is nonsense as a measure and that we need something better.

It's not just how happy you feel, it is also measuring items which affect our wellbing. Some potential wellbeing measures:
- house ownership rates
- housing poverty
- poverty
- child poverty
- physical wellness
- mental wellness
- congestion
- air quality (indoor and outdoor)
- water quality
- pollution
- parkland area/person
- volunteer hours
- crime levels
- attendance at art exhibitions/theatre shows/concerts
- attendance at community events
- education attendance
etc etc

Most of which are subjective, immeasurable or have massive error bands.

- most crimes are never reported. Rapes, graffiti, burgs, carpark dings.
- Volunteering is self-reported so a suspect and minor slice of the real extent
- edumication attendance without correlation to outcomes is akin to measuring church-going then trying to count Saved Souls. Otherwise it's just being indoors and keeping warm. That's after all, what Libraries mainly deliver nowadays.
- Parkland area per person neglects the spaces enjoyed by cyclists, sailors, glider pilots and balloonists, mountaineers, trampers, skiers and hunters.
- mental wellness varies from hour to hour. I felt quite depressed when I read some of the fatuous comments on this thread, but half an hour later and after three biscuits and a cuppa I feel on top of the world. Which state should I report? Or an average? a Mean? a Median? A weighted average? (weighted by What?) Oh, gosh, sliding downhill again....

I don't want to throw babies like GDP and GNP out with the bathwater, just because we have ourselves an idealistic, inexperienced political crew, fizzing at the bung with Great Ideas for More Gooder Ways to spend our munny.

There needs to be a logical AND, not a logical OR, regarding measures in this new social-lab-rat era we are saddled with.

Hopefully, after you've had your cuppa and biscuits, the nurse will wheel you away from the computer to attend the afternoon sing-along.

I say, that's a bit strong. Most traditional cultures have a deep respect for the wisdom of their elders. We seem to have adopted the US worship of teenage values. I enjoy Waymad's commentary and it would be a pity to put him off, like many a good commenter before him. Mind you, I did chuckle.

Don't worry, Roger. I write to please, to amuse and to inform, and having blogged since 2003, I do have a certain knack for the mot juste. Ad-homs from newbie common taters are as water off of a dux back. It's certainly more entertaining than wrestling with SQL UNPIVOT...

And, to come back to the matter at hand, Treasury's paper has this to say about the overall intention: section 2 - Context

The Living Standards Framework is focused on intergenerational wellbeing. However, the Living Standards Dashboard is not simply an academic exercise to measure intergenerational wellbeing. The design of the Living Standards Dashboard has to reflect the needs of the Treasury and the Government more widely, and has to usefully inform policy design. From this perspective it is essential that the Living Standards Dashboard reflects the Treasury’s main institutional constraints and drivers.

Personally, I'm rather thin skinned myself. It is a bit of a concern how many knowledgable commenters we have lost over the years, and while I enjoy the cut and thrust of ideas it is much better when people have real personal experiences to base them on. You just can't beat advice from people who have been there and done that and have the scars to prove it.


You're right inthecentre, sometimes it is better just to say nothing.

Right, now I've heard it all. Can't believe the number of people supporting this idiotic wellbeing measure. I think I'm writing my last blog for this site as there are definitely whole heap of crazies lefty tree hugging dope smoking weirdos here and my views are too mainstream and I'm about creating wealth.

Adios to my friends, RP, Nic, saving for Aust (hope you save enough for a one-way trip mate), etc and some good sensible guys eco bird, DGZ, Yvil and others. It's been fun and some good banter. All the best to you all.

Later dude. It's been great having you ;-)

I didn't think it was that bad Chessmaster.

The site could do without delusional aholes

Thanks HO. Hope your name stays relevant for a very long time. Best of luck renting for the rest of your life. Au Revoir

Presumably you've gone to live on that *other* planet where the pursuit of "wealth" via GDP measures, perfect market price signals, the absence of monopolies, exploitation and dishonesty has not led to corruption of democratic power by MNCs and the 1%, the decay of public institutions, habitat loss, air pollution, ozone holes and declining water quality?

I hope life on Uranus suits you well.

you and me bud. I was thinking the exact same thing. total lunacy.

the only reason the oecd will look to this will be to have a laugh.

It also says to any overseas investor DONT invest in NZ.

It seems to me that they are thinking that throwing money at this will solve our deficient wellbeing problem. The problem is a spiritual one and not an economic one.

To go some way toward solving this I have a very simple suggestion. We should collect all the discarded wooden pallets and construct a gigantic statue of a human on the top of Mount Eden. Much like a Wicker Man.

On the Summer Solstice, at the point of the sun going down over the Waitakeres we set it alight. What a spectacularly dramatic and primal sight this would be. The people would feel a connection to their ancient Celtic/Druid roots and their spirits would be stirred and raised.

It would also be a great tourist attraction.

Great idea as long as its butt faces West over Sandringham.