Budget 2023

Budget Policy Statement

How the wellbeing objectives are intended to support long-term wellbeing in New Zealand

  1. Just Transition – supporting New Zealanders to transition to a climate-resilient, sustainable, and low-emissions economy

    Our wellbeing objective to achieve a just transition means we will actively support households and businesses through major structural changes in our economy. In particular, we will move away from fossil fuels towards a low-carbon, circular economy in a way that supports workers, businesses, and communities to make changes to how they live and work. This protects the long-term wellbeing of New Zealanders.

    Achieving a just transition protects our natural environment and enhances Te Taiao, while increasing financial capital through new economic opportunities. It also enhances social cohesion by ensuring the transition is fair, and ensures the pace of change protects and grows human capability and mana whanake.

  2. Physical and Mental Wellbeing – supporting improved health outcomes for all New Zealanders, particularly the mental wellbeing of our young people

    Good physical and mental health, and timely access to care and support when they are needed, are fundamental to the long-term wellbeing of all New Zealanders. Those who suffer from poor health find it difficult to build their own skills so that they can achieve in the workforce and engage in society.

    Rates of psychological distress among New Zealanders – particularly young people – have been increasing in the past decade,and poor mental health is the factor most strongly associated with below-average life satisfaction. Poor physical and mental health undermines both our human capability and social cohesion. It also has run-on effects for financial capital, as investing in a healthier population now reduces health costs in the future.

  3. Future of Work – equipping New Zealanders and enabling New Zealand businesses to benefit from new technologies, and lift productivity and wages through innovation

    Innovation enables the creation of new industries and decent jobs, which in turn helps to improve productivity, lift wages, and meet society's needs in new ways.

    Improving the foundational literacy and numeracy skills and educational experiences of all young people, and ensuring access to high-quality training and work opportunities, are central to New Zealanders' long-term wellbeing. They are key to enabling New Zealanders to be resilient to the societal changes that new technologies will bring, and benefit from the changing nature of work. Investing in our technology infrastructure, advancing our sustainable and inclusive trade agenda, and lifting the digital and critical thinking skills of New Zealanders are similarly important.

    Our work towards this objective will improve the ability of the labour force to meet changing requirements and increase the capacity of firms to engage with dynamic markets. Adapting to the future of work boosts New Zealand's human capability and in turn improves resilience and lifts incomes, building our financial and physical capital for the long term.

  4. Māori and Pacific Peoples – lifting Māori and Pacific peoples' incomes, skills, and opportunities, including through access to affordable, safe, and stable housing

    Māori and Pacific peoples have a high sense of belonging to New Zealand, but experience lower levels of wellbeing across several measures, including income and housing. Investing to lift incomes, skills, and opportunities for Māori and Pacific peoples will accordingly have significant impacts on enhancing their wellbeing over time, particularly given the younger age structure of these populations.

    For example, the proportion of Māori and Pacific peoples who report living in homes that are always or often cold and damp is higher than for European and Asian New Zealanders. These living conditions adversely affect the wellbeing of Māori and Pacific peoples across several domains, including labour market participation, health, educational outcomes, and cultural wellbeing (including a sense of tikanga and turangawaewae).

  5. Child Wellbeing – reducing child poverty and improving child wellbeing, including through access to affordable, safe, and stable housing

    The experiences we have as children lay the foundations for healthy development and positive wellbeing throughout our lives. Good material standards of living (including access to warm and dry housing) provide children with a good start in life, and this been shown to contribute to lasting wellbeing outcomes in areas like health, housing, and education.

    Investing in a good start in life for our children is one of the most important ways we can ensure the wellbeing of New Zealanders for the long term. It will strengthen our social cohesion and human capability, leading to better economic and financial capital outcomes.

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