BERL staged its inaugural wānanga in August 2018 in Wellington which considered New Zealand stepping into unchartered territory with regards to producing Budgets, based on perspectives beyond just the Government’s financial books.
Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Minister for Māori Development and Local Government Nanaia Mahuta told the wānanga that changing the way the country measures success, while continuing to be fiscally-accountable is the challenge.
“The Cabinet ministers put numerous other challenges in front of us. They made it clear the Living standards framework will be the core, but not the totality of the 2019 wellbeing Budget,” Dr Nana says.
“And we have to make sure it is a uniquely New Zealand framework, and one focussing on outcomes that are truly long term and inter-generational.
“Our wānanga workshop discussions varied in breadth and depth. We heard that what we measure we value; if we measure the wrong things we will value the wrong things.
“There was positive engagement and an openness to explore different ways to measure and value our wealth and wellbeing in Aotearoa. High-level themes arising included a shift from looking at the individual Kiwi, to a more collective perspective and the wellbeing of the community.
“There was also a call to shift from only focussing on data and statistics to incorporating surveys that directly ask communities for their input and expectations.
“Another shift echoed across our kōrero – a move from a solely ‘value for money’ perspective - to measures incorporating trust, participation and degree of connection to family, community, whānau and hapū. It was exciting, but at the same time we sensed caution as many ventured outside their comfort zone.
Dr Nana says the wānanga resulted in a thought-provoking opportunity for government heads to hear from a range of stakeholders and for them to listen to political leadership. BERL researchers will distil and distribute the proceedings and findings from our wānanga. We also look forward to engaging further with our stakeholders to assist in their understanding of what a Wellbeing Budget might mean for them and their organisations, establishments, and businesses.
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