Wellbeing Budget 2023

Support for today
Building for tomorrow

Te Ara Toiora The Wellbeing Approach

Since its introduction in 2019, the wellbeing approach has become embedded in Aotearoa New Zealand’s wider public finance system. It centres on the idea that people’s quality of life cannot be determined by traditional economic measures alone, and is integral to Budget 2023.

The wellbeing approach emphasises collaboration across the Government and communities, and focuses on ensuring that the wellbeing of all New Zealanders is at the heart of investment decisions. It is driven by an intergenerational view that works across multiple Budgets to put into action our wellbeing objectives. Budget 2023 builds on our significant investments in previous Budgets to assist New Zealanders with cost of living pressures, take action on climate change and meet our manifesto commitments, while building a strong and sustainable economy resilient to future shocks. Health, housing and education are key areas of focus.

Our wellbeing approach to Budget 2023

The wellbeing objectives

The Public Finance Act requires the Government to set wellbeing objectives for each Budget and explain how they are intended to support long-term wellbeing in New Zealand. The objectives are intended to be enduring, to ensure there is sustained investment across multiple Budgets to address New Zealand’s most significant intergenerational challenges. They are informed by extensive wellbeing analysis, and also incorporate advice from sector experts and the Government’s Chief Science Advisors. The wellbeing objectives are separate from the Government’s shorter-term goals and focus areas, which are intended to support the choices and trade-offs required as part of Budget decision-making.

In the Budget Policy Statement[4] in December 2022, the Government made changes to the Future of Work and Physical and Mental Wellbeing objectives, following the publication of Te Tai Waiora,[5] the Treasury’s first Wellbeing Report. It did so to increase emphasis on improving our young people’s foundational literacy and numeracy skills, educational experience and mental health outcomes.

Our wellbeing objectives for Budget 2023 are:

  1. Just Transition: supporting New Zealanders to transition to a climate-resilient, sustainable and low-emissions economy.
  2. Physical and Mental Wellbeing: supporting improved health outcomes for all New Zealanders, particularly the mental wellbeing of our young people.
  3. Future of Work: equipping New Zealanders with and enabling New Zealand businesses to benefit from new technologies and lift productivity and wages through innovation.
  4. Māori and Pacific Peoples: lifting Māori and Pacific peoples’ incomes, skills and opportunities, including through access to affordable, safe and stable housing.
  5. Child Wellbeing: reducing child poverty and improving child wellbeing, including through access to affordable, safe and stable housing.

This Budget makes a strong contribution to all five of the wellbeing objectives, as outlined in the following table.

Wellbeing objective Budget 2023 contribution
Just Transition

Achieving a just transition means boosting our energy independence by shifting towards a low-carbon economy in a way that supports workers, businesses and communities. Specific initiatives to support this include:

  • $120 million total operating to support the provision of electric vehicle charging infrastructure
  • investments to continue to deliver public transport across New Zealand, and permanently removing or reducing the costs of accessing public transport for under-25-year-olds and Total Mobility Scheme users
  • a $300 million capital injection for New Zealand Green Investment Finance Limited to ensure it can fund low emissions projects into the future
  • $402.6 million total operating to expand the duration and scope of the Warmer Kiwi Homes programme.
Physical and Mental Wellbeing

Good physical and mental health and timely access to care and support are fundamental to New Zealanders’ long-term wellbeing. Specific initiatives to support this include:

  • $863.6 million total operating to support tāngata whaikaha Māori and disabled people and their families
  • $3.1 billion total capital and $465 million total operating for 3,000 new public housing places, for delivery by 30 June 2025
  • $618.6 million total operating to remove the cost of prescription
    co-payments for an estimated 3 million New Zealanders. This is in addition to the 2023 component ($1.3 billion per annum operating for cost pressures) of the Health multi-year funding package agreed at Budget 2022.
Future of Work

Enabling all New Zealanders to benefit from the changing nature of work requires an investment in expanding access to training and technology infrastructure. Specific initiatives to support this include:

  • $521 million total operating to support a 5.3 percent increase in tertiary tuition and training subsidies to maintain quality and accessibility
  • $55.3 million total operating to help meet the Government’s commitment to increasing investment in research and development to 2 percent of GDP
  • $80.1 million total operating and $47.5 million total capital to permanently reinstate the Training Incentive Allowance for higher-level study
  • $400 million total capital and $51 million total operating for the construction and maintenance of research, science and innovation centres in the Wellington region.
Māori and Pacific Peoples

The ability for many Māori and Pacific peoples to have mana āheinga (the capability to decide on their aspirations and realise them) and build mana whanake (the power to grow sustainable, intergenerational prosperity) is impeded when health, education, housing and social welfare systems do not address multifaceted, intergenerational disadvantage. Specific initiatives to support this include:

  • $200 million total operating to support Māori-led housing supply, capability building and repairs to maintain the momentum created through existing Māori housing delivery programmes
  • $68.7 million total operating for Whānau Ora Commissioning Agencies to expand their services, improve quality and meet the demand increase
  • $64.4 million total operating for Ngā Tini Whetū to provide targeted support for 650 Māori whānau during their pēpi’s first 1,000 days
  • $14.1 million total operating to grow the capability of the Pacific workforce.
Child Wellbeing

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. Specific initiatives to support this include:

  • $323.4 million total operating and $1.7 million total capital to provide the 25 percent of ākonga (~220,000 children) experiencing the greatest socioeconomic barriers to education with access to a nutritious lunch on every school day
  • $339.3 million total operating and $4.6 million total capital to close the pay gap between certificated teachers in early education and care services and their counterparts in kindergartens
  • $73.7 million total operating to improve school attendance
  • $1.2 billion total operating and $1.8 million total capital to extend the 20 hours early childhood education subsidy to two-year-olds.
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