From the Minister of Finance
It is my absolute pleasure to present Budget 2019 – the Wellbeing Budget. This Budget signals a new approach to how government works, by placing the wellbeing of New Zealanders at the heart of what we do.
This approach represents a significant departure from the status quo. Budgets have traditionally focused on a limited set of economic data. Success has been declared on the basis of a narrow range of indicators, like GDP growth. But New Zealanders have questioned that claim of success when they have seen other things that we hold dear – child wellbeing, a warm, dry home, or being able to swim in our rivers and lakes – getting steadily worse. The old ways have left too many people behind. It is time to change.
New Zealanders want us to measure our success in line with their values – the importance of fairness, the protection of the environment, the strength of our communities. That is what this Wellbeing Budget sets out to do.
Many countries around the world have begun to look at different ways of measuring success to better reflect the wellbeing of their people. This Budget goes further and puts wellbeing at the heart of everything we do.
To set the priorities for this Budget, we used evidence and expert advice to tell us where we could make the greatest difference to the wellbeing of New Zealanders. Each bid for funding required a wellbeing analysis to make sure that funding would address those priorities. We have broken down the silos of government to support programmes that bring together agencies to solve the big challenges of our time.
In this first Wellbeing Budget our priorities are tackling long-term challenges facing New Zealand. We're taking mental health seriously, addressing child poverty and domestic violence, supporting Māori and Pasifika aspirations, transforming our economy and building our productivity. Alongside them we are balancing the need for fiscal sustainability for future generations and making long term infrastructure investments, such as in our schools and hospitals, and supporting the economy.
We do not claim perfection in this first Wellbeing Budget, and we will not fix everything in one go. This is just the start of a programme of change. The Coalition Government is committed to the wellbeing approach, now and in the future. I want to thank all three parties that make up this Government for their commitment, and to doing the right thing for New Zealand for generations to come. Budget 2019 is a landmark moment, and I am proud to present it.
Hon Grant Robertson
Minister of Finance