New Zealand consults on proposals to legally link country’s wellbeing and finances

14 Sep 18

New Zealand’s government is seeking public opinions on its proposal to embed a focus on wellbeing in its law governing how the country’s finances are managed.

Finance minister Grant Robertson outlined on Wednesday proposed amendments to the Public Finance Act, including what will be done to ensure wellbeing and fiscal objectives inform the government’s budget decisions.

The amendments will also introduce requirements for how the Treasury should report on both wellbeing and financial indicators.

This follows the government’s announcement earlier this year it would implement the world’s first ‘wellbeing budget’ in 2019.

Robertson said: “The Public Finance Act is an important part of providing accountability and transparency in how governments manage our finances.

“As part of our plan to deliver a wellbeing budget in 2019, we are making an important addition to the Public Finance Act, which sets out what governments must report on.”

The finance minister asked for people to submit their views on the proposal and “be a part of the wider conversation” on the wellbeing approach to decision making.

A Treasury official told PF International in May that ministries will have to work together in a new way to “draw a wellbeing link” between departments, such as on health, education and housing, all of which have an impact on wellbeing. It will also capture gender and climate issues, and the wellbeing indicators that address these areas.

The governments discussion document was released yesterday and is open for consultation until 12 October.

On the Treasury’s website, the government said about the consultation: “This government is committed to using a broader framing to measure New Zealand’s progress, to develop and assess fiscal policy and support decision-making.

“This involves capturing and reporting against important facets of wellbeing for the environment, people and communities, alongside existing macroeconomic and fiscal indicators.”

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