The Wellbeing Approach
The purpose of our wellbeing approach is to ensure that our investment decisions are driven by New Zealanders' overall wellbeing and what we can do to enhance that further. It means giving people the capabilities to live lives of purpose, balance and meaning to them. It also means putting an intergenerational lens on investments. This approach is now an integral part of the Budget process, and it is also embedded in the wider public finance system.
Budget 2022 builds on our significant investments in previous Wellbeing Budgets to protect New Zealanders and the economy from the effects of COVID-19, meet our manifesto commitments and address critical cost pressures, while maintaining one of the strongest fiscal positions in the world. This Budget also has a particular focus on how we lay strong foundations for the future by addressing key long-term challenges, such as health and climate change, and modernising the public finance system.
Our wellbeing approach to Budget 2022
Value for money
For this Wellbeing Budget the Treasury has developed a new approach to evaluating the value for money of proposed investments, including their effects on wellbeing. The approach incorporates information in three areas:
- Value: The wellbeing impacts and outcomes of proposed initiatives, drawing on relevant evidence. Agencies provided information on the rationale, intervention logic, inputs, outputs, and goals of their proposed initiatives, as well as a consideration of the distributional impacts for Māori, Pacific peoples and children. The Living Standards Framework and He Ara Waiora supported this analysis, providing a structured way to think about wellbeing that includes different cultural perspectives and knowledge systems.
- Alignment: The extent to which proposals support the Government's wellbeing objectives, goals, and cross-government strategies.
- Delivery: Information that can provide confidence that initiatives will meet their objectives, such as well-defined outputs, costings, assurances of effective delivery and monitoring and evaluation.
This approach has helped us to identify the highest-value investments required to both meet immediate needs and tackle long-term challenges to improve New Zealanders' wellbeing.
The Living Standards Framework has now been applied to several Wellbeing Budgets and requires analyses of policy impacts across the different dimensions of wellbeing. In preparing this Wellbeing Budget we used the 2018 version of the framework, as the newest version was released part-way through the process. In the future, we will use the version that the Treasury released in October 2021, which now includes institutions and governance, culture and several changes to the wellbeing domains to better reflect the wellbeing needs of groups such as Māori, Pacific peoples and children.
Using He Ara Waiora in developing Budget 2022 has helped us to reflect the national and cultural context unique to Aotearoa New Zealand. Derived from mātauranga Māori, the framework is an important new dimension in our Budget process that we will continue to develop over time. He Ara Waiora consideration was not only for the initiatives that are focused on Māori, but for the whole Budget package.
In preparing this Budget, we progressed our application of He Ara Waiora by considering the alignment of initiatives with the principles of tikanga (decisions made in accordance with the right processes) and manaakitanga (maintaining a focus on improved wellbeing and enhanced mana for all New Zealanders). One example of an initiative that was strongly grounded in these principles is the regional-based rollout of the Enabling Good Lives approach, providing disabled people and their families with greater choice and control over their lives and supports. Tangata whenua, the disabled community and tangata whaikaha (the disabled Māori community) had strong input into the overall approach and its implementation.
In future Budgets we will extend our application of He Ara Waiora to include its other principles, including kotahitanga (working in an aligned, coordinated way), whanaungatanga (fostering strong relationships through kinship and/or shared experience that provide a shared sense of belonging) and tiakitanga (guardianship and stewardship of the environment, particularly taonga and other important processes and systems).