Treasury releases the first version of its Living Standards Framework Dashboard that will help inform Grant Robertson's 'Wellbeing Budget'

Treasury has released the first version of its much-awaited Living Standards Framework (LSF) Dashboard, aimed at helping policymakers make more holistic decisions.

The LSF Dashboard contains data measures across 12 areas, like health, housing, safety, and social connections, which are in most cases internationally comparable.

It shows the current and future wellbeing of New Zealanders broken by ethnicity, age, gender, region, family time and deprivation area over time.

It also shows the distribution of New Zealanders that have high, medium and low wellbeing for each domain.

"It’s kind of an exciting day for Treasury," Finance Minister Grant Robertson says.

Importantly, the LSF will help inform the Government’s 2019 “Wellbeing Budget,” which in Robertson’s words – “will be a significant change from previous ones”.

“Our Wellbeing Budget will demonstrate that we are a Government committed to building an economy that is more productive, more sustainable and more inclusive,” he says.

“In doing this, we are making sure that we don’t just look at New Zealand’s financial health, but also at the wellbeing of our people, the health of our environment, and the strength of our communities.”

Robertson says with Treasury factoring in about 60 indicators in its framework, the challenge for policymakers is deciding which factors to prioritise.

While difficult, he says it's better to have the factors in front of them, to know and understand them, than not have them at all.

Mental health is front of mind for Robertson. He will say more about his other Budget priorities when he releases his Budget Policy Statement on December 13 – the same day Treasury will release its Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update.

“Each government gets to decide what’s the most important, but the indicators stay the same and I think that’s useful,” Robertson says.

An important part of long-term planning

Asked by interest.co.nz about how workable it is having so many indicators, and whether the LSF is just a “fun academic exercise”, Robertson says it’s far from it.

He maintains it’s an important part of long-term planning.

The LSF Dashboard Treasury has released is dubbed “version 1.0,” as it is a work in progress. Gaps that need filling are around child wellbeing, cultural wellbeing and capturing Maori views.

Treasury’s chief economic adviser, Tim Ng, says Treasury worked closely with Statistics NZ to select the most relevant and meaningful indicators.

“We also worked closely with a challenge group of academics, independent economists and private sector representatives, who critiqued the development of the LSF Dashboard and our broader Living Standards Framework.

“The Living Standards Framework itself draws on, and is refined from, substantial international research, earlier work by the OECD, and more than 30 years of work on what New Zealanders value.”

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 or click on the "Register" link below a 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.

15 Comments

Yawn...

up
11

Really? Is this the best you can come up with? This is very important. Why do you think people are rioting in Paris at the moment, or voted for BREXIT, or Trump? What do you think caused the number of people being forced to live on the streets in NZ to go through the roof in the last 20 - 30 years? Why do you think there are so many strikes being voted for in NZ at the moment?

Above all this Government seems to understand that the Free Market Economic model has utterly failed ordinary people. This Government is at least trying to live up to it's mandate of representing ALL the people of this country, not just those with money. They are at least trying to show a little real leadership in a difficult world.

David Attenborough refered to the gathering in Poland as the "world's leaders". The problem is, is that leaders they are not. They are self-centred and self interested manipulators who have been primarily focussed on their own power, priviledge and wealth. Our own past Governmments are included in this description. Real leaders look after their people first, if only because they understand that the true base of their power and privilege comes from the people. But the truth is the world over, those at the head of Governments and business's have feathered their own nests at the expense of the people.

Our current Government are in an extremely difficult position, partly at least of their own making. They have taken on the mandate to try to address the inequities in our society, rather than, like past Governments, just ignore them. They are likely the only government in the world at the moment who are doing so in reality. They must walk the fine knife edge of leading a very small country in a region of contesting large political powers, who have little if any interest in NZs affairs, other than how they can influence them, devloping an economic model that addresses those inequalities, while knowing that most if not all the other countries in the world and most definitely all large global corporations, and most if not all business's are resistant or out right oppose the change from the Free Market. They know that by being out of step with the rest of the world can potentially be very damaging economically and politically to them and us. So they must walk carefully and slowly.

It will be easy for us to forget what they are trying to achieve, because it will take a very long time, and there will be many distractions, but i for one hope they will have the courage, stamina and balls to stay the course, simply because, as Paris is hinting at, the alternative will be very much worse and very, very bloody! "Do you hear the people sing? Singing the song of angry men. It is the music of a people who will not be slaves again!"

Very good comment murray86.

To clarify, what do you mean with "Free Market Economic model?" And why would you say it's failed? No country has a free market but generally the countries with the freest markets are the wealthiest. Am I missing something?

And how our government actually has a 35% of GDP intervention in the economy, so is absolutely without question a part of any percieved failure.

Pure free market is very different to what people in NZ experience today.

NZ is socialist, with large government intervention in the economy, there is no doubt

lalaland,

your non de plume accurately sums up your views,as represented here-poorly written and basically incoherent.

There is no such thing as a pure free market-it doesn't exist in any country and would in fact be anarchy.

NZ is not a socialist country.

This is a long and on going discussion. Milton Friedman's model introduced by the US in the 60s adopted by us as Rogernomics in the 80's. You are right, it has never been free. Governments sought to minimise regulation without understanding that it only opened the door to the manipulators. The US is and has always been the wealthiest, even without the free market, but with it the equity gap is expanding at a huge rate. Yes you are missing the big picture. You are seeing just trees without understanding the shape of the forest.

I'd love to know how I'm not understanding the shape of the forest? Manipulation is not a free market phenomenon, just look at communism and how their political leaders manipulate things for their own benefit (and many other non communistic politicians for that matter). It just seems inappropriate blaming the free market for things that aren't unique to a free market system.

I think when most people say free markets and de-regulation they seem to conveniently forget that the gold standard was abandoned not too long before and money creation and inflation has been one of, if not the single biggest driver of inequality.

We would agree on what is wrong most likely, just have different diagnosees for the cause.

I do think we would agree, but coming at it from different directions doesn't make us wrong. We can both be right, just different perspectives. The true value is learning why from the other.

I agree re communism, and indeed I often go further. We generally argue Left wing v right wing, but I think both are as bad as the other, and regardless of the mechanism of getting to where they are or what they say to the people, their ideology at the top means they are both just about preserving their own power and privilege and keeping the masses under control.

No, the term "Free Market" in Friedman's model means free from Government regulation. It is based on an idealised concept of the perfect market, with little or no understanding or recognition of human nature and that individuals with the means and opportunity will attempt to manipulate things to their own favour. The entire purpose of government regulation is to prevent this. That is how the modern economic system based on Friedman's model, centered on the free market has failed. Capitalism at its purest.

Agreed on the first two paragraphs. The third is a bit more interesting. Free markets are just a tool, a price finding mechanism which naturally accounts for human nature. As it is a sum of many moving parts I see it as harder to manipulate than concentrated power seen in politics. This is why I think lobbyists and money in politics are very dangerous as they push for regulation to distort the market in their favour. This is also more preferable from business perspective as competition is harder than politician aided protection. That is not to say that there isn’t a role for a small amount of regulation (I’m not an anarchist), it just seems that vested interests are winning the battle at the moment in a regulatory perspective leading for the tool (free markets) to get the blame.

Even with the corruption that is happening I would still prefer to live in the “capitalist” west than anywhere else. I believe that markets have gone a long way to minimising corruption as they are a decently robust (not perfect) tool.

Withay,

To me,it is best represented by the Milton Friedman Chicago School brand of economics. basically,the fewer regulations the better,get government out of the way and the market will sort things out. Remember the Efficient Market Hypothesis?
Only it turns out that the 'free market' doesn't sort everything out.The GFC graphically exposed the shortcomings of a very lightly regulated financial system and the price is still being paid today. GDP is a very crude measure of a country's wellbeing and the man who gave birth to it,Simon Kuznets,fiercely opposed the form it subsequently took. To look at this in greater depth,I can recommend David Pilling's book,The Growth Delusion.

It does not help that the dashboard is technically broken and crashes more than a DUI.

You know when an infographic & chart fails when describing how the infographic works takes longer than the graphic themselves. Seriously the thing is practically unusable for most analysts in any public interaction. Also survey review of 500 related people, with 60 formal responses and some hand picked interest groups to represent all of NZ is hardly a wide survey. Most polls, strike that most facebook surveys, can manage more. Even the stats survey it was based on managed to capture more accurate fields and groups even with the severe limitations in different cultures. Top that there is absolutely no definition of what values more or less likely takes, no measure for error. In fact with those numbers the whole survey could be a measure for error. Then the terrible lack of accounting for bias in the survey... not to mention the discrimination of several sectors of NZ. It is self congratulatory but nowhere effective or useful even as a guide and does not even include direct consideration for known groups experiencing severe deprivation in comparison to the general population in the report, it is solely just a ethnic survey which is even racist to NZ and pacific island populations which are not divided by skin colour. If anyone tries to use this survey as evidence with data this poor woe betide them. They don't even consider multiple generations in a self classed multi-generation survey. Or people of multiple ethnic groups. Their idea for a major deprivation class in the report would be only being Maori which is incredibly offensive but even fails to register the major significantly deprived groups. It is as if the only classification they care about is a survey participant has kids and is Maori, there is absolutely no other reason or investigation to show difference in economic and social well being... jeez if this is the calibre of studies no wonder people think they are being run by a 15 year old teen.

I looked at the summary and found our household comprises 6 of their 8 groups. If I was American or African then I wouldn't exist. Another issue is all groups are shown as being the same size so it will bias the govt to improve the wellbeing of the smallest minorities because that way you get a graphic change for the cheapest price.

If you think through it logically, the individual is the ultimate minority. I hate this collectivist narritive and often the decisions made accordingly.

Is it really the governments place to improve people's outcomes or should they lay a foundation for people to improve their own outcomes? I think the latter.

At least the stats NZ site works a million miles better than the dashboard but the Wellbeing survey is crafted to focus only on "the Māori world view" hence the report bias in survey groups selected and isolating it as the main factor for deprivation, completely even ignoring the rural and urban divide where iwi face more economic difficulties outside of the major cities. Collecting closer to urban city areas even shows better wellbeing measures than more rural areas, no fricken surprises. Who did they get to design the survey, a dog chasing its own tail?