Government moves to achieve “genuine and enduring change”
Legislation to have wellbeing as a central focus of governments to come was introduced to the Parliament on Wednesday.
The bill, which Finance Minister Grant Robertson said aims to have wellbeing “enshrined in law,” was introduced after the successful delivery of this year’s budget, which the government called the Wellbeing Budget.
“Achieving genuine and enduring change requires establishing a public sector and systems geared towards this new way of working,” Robertson said. “Rather than measuring progress in purely economic terms, this government is committed to taking a broader approach to measuring New Zealand’s progress. This includes fiscal policy, where we want to consider the wellbeing of our environment, people and communities, alongside existing macroeconomic and fiscal indicators.”
He said that the Public Finance (Wellbeing) Amendment Bill achieves this goal by requiring the government to set and explain wellbeing objectives that will inform the development of budgets. The bill also requires treasury to regularly report on New Zealand’s wellbeing.
“We need to support long-term intergenerational wellbeing and a build a more forward-looking, strategic focus into our budget process. We will always have a careful and close eye on our fiscal performance, but New Zealanders have told us that that is not sufficient,” Robertson said. “We’ll keep the strengths of our current statutory fiscal requirements, and build on these with a wider framework.
He said that a budget must reflect the importance of the health of the people, the environment, and the communities.