Media release: Today Loneliness NZ provided its updated response to the New Zealand Treasury’s request for submissions on the independent report “Treasuring Living Standards Dashboard: Monitoring Intergenerational Wellbeing”, and its proposed Living Standards Dashboard.
The New Zealand Treasury is developing a world-leading framework for prioritising Government policy. Rather than Treasury focusing on a financial measure such as improving GDP per capita, the Treasury is developing the Living Standards Framework, which is based more broadly on improving current and future individual wellbeing. An important element of the Framework is to develop the indicators that make up the Framework’s dashboard. The Treasury commissioned Conal Smith of Kōtātā Insight to prepare a report recommending the indicators that make up the Living Standards Framework. The Treasury has put this report out for consultation.
We recognise that this is an important consultation for the Treasury, Government, and the wellbeing of all New Zealanders. We agree with the Chief Economic Adviser, Tim Ng, that the independent report by Conal Smith is “world-class.”
In our view, however, the primary issue with the proposed Living Standards Framework and Dashboard is that it is not performance-based. What we mean is that it is not focused on a specific measurable outcome. Instead, it is based around a ‘warm fuzzy’ concept of wellbeing outcomes. In particular, the Framework is a model of flows and the Dashboard is a categorised list of indicators within the model. In our experience, this Framework and Dashboard will only achieve about 30% of what is possible if it were performance-based. Given the likely poorer outcome in its current form, the Framework may in time become more of an academic model or even be disbanded. That would be a great loss to New Zealand and all New Zealanders.
The good news is that the foundational work to create a performance-based Framework and Dashboard has been completed in parts by Conal Smith’s report, New Zealand Treasury, and Stats NZ. In this submission, we show how to convert all this work into an integrated performance-based Living Standards Framework and Dashboard.