Loneliness NZ

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Our point of view


Based on analysis by Stats NZ (see our summary), the four primary drivers of wellbeing are:

  • Health: excellent or very good general health;
  • Income: more than enough or enough money to meet everyday needs;
  • Social connections: not felt lonely in the last four weeks; and
  • Housing: no major problems with house or flat in which living.

Whilst Central and Local Government has spent billions of dollars over the past decade to improve the three primary drivers of health, income, and housing, it has spent relatively little to improve social connections and reduce loneliness. The small amounts of direct expenditure in this area has been fragmented.

With the Government moving to a Wellbeing Budget in 2019 based on the Living Standards Framework, there is an opportunity to dramatically improve the wellbeing of the New Zealand population by leveraging the untapped primary driver of social connections; in order to prevent and overcome loneliness.

Social development

Social development is about improving the well-being of every individual in society so they can reach their full potential. It is about helping people so they can move forward on their path to self-sufficiency.

Improving social connections, and reducing loneliness, is a function of social development.  However, the benefits of reduced loneliness primarily fall into health – especially mental health.

Mental health

There is strong international evidence that investing effectively in mental health services can make a positive difference, both to people’s health, as well as to the economy.

New Zealand’s current approach to mental health services and the intolerably high suicide rates is not working optimally.

There is strong evidence that prevention and early intervention in mental health is most beneficial and cost-effective.

New Zealand’s current approach to mental health is not geared towards prevention and early intervention.

Loneliness is frequently a common symptom and early warning sign of mental health issues, including depression, paranoia, and suicidal tendencies. The need to address loneliness is an unmet need in New Zealand’s health and response system.

By targeting loneliness it is possible to prevent and provide early intervention in mental health issues.

Prevention and early treatment of mental health issues avoids more serious and costly treatment and reduces the pressure on specialist services.

The role of Loneliness NZ

Until now, New Zealand has not had a national focus on loneliness.

Loneliness NZ

  • has been established to be the national body dedicated to conquering loneliness in New Zealand, and thereby promoting wellbeing.
  • will provide a broad range of coordinated and integrated intervention, with equitable access, that is available earlier, and better connected into other community and social supports.
  • will provide a new approach to social development and health, informed by consumer experience and new technology (e.g. Skype to provide a national delivery model).
  • will enable social development and good health for individual Kiwis and the benefits that brings for other aspects of their lives.

By conquering loneliness all New Zealanders will have improved wellbeing and a stronger chance to live well, stay well, and get well.

Loneliness NZ will further New Zealanders to help themselves to be safe, strong and independent.