Well-being matters in New Zealand!
What if we were to place people’s well-being at the forefront of the country’s budgetary priorities, ahead of traditional economic indicators such as growth, employment or national debt reduction? That’s the stand taken by the New Zealand government for its 2019 budget. It represents a world first, and a shift in paradigm, that chooses to give pride of place to people and national solidarity.
New Zealand’s initiative is in the same vein as that of other countries which measure the national “well-being index” (one example being Bhutan, and its famous Gross National Happiness index created in 2008). But this is the first time a government has decided to use the quest for happiness as a standard for allocating public expenditure.
“Many New Zealanders don’t benefit from our thriving economy in their day-to-day lives, and our budget needs to close the widening gap between rich and poor.”
The initiative was made possible thanks to the country’s prosperous economy, which forecasts a surplus budget of 3.5 billion NZ dollars (2 billion euros) for 2018-2019, and an average economic growth of 2.7% over the next five years.
Society as top priority
And that’s not all! From now on, every new budget request submitted by a New Zealand minister must, in order to be granted, have an impact on one of the government’s five priorities for a better society: mental health, child poverty, inequality of indigenous people, the digital transition and the ecological transition.
Back in 2009, the Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz recommended giving priority to well-being rather than growth. Ten years on, New Zealand is the first to take action.
Feel like visiting to give their quality of life a try? Keep in mind that ATR is proud to include Air New Zealand as one of its leading customers, with 30 aircraft operated via the regional carrier Mount Cook Airline.