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Higher Living Standards

Page updated 7 Apr 2014

Our vision is to be a world-class Treasury working for higher living standards for New Zealanders.

By living standards we mean much more than just income or GDP:

Higher Living Standards Framework - Assess the Impact of Policy Advice Across Key Living Standards Dimensions

It includes a broad range of material and non-material factors which impact on well-being (such as trust, education, health and environmental quality). 

This diagram summarises what we think are the important factors that we need to consider for achieving our goal of higher living standards.

The latest developments in our Living Standards Work

After our November 2014 workshop, we decided the focus of this year’s work would be on “Making It Real”. This reflected the feedback from participants that it would be helpful for Treasury to give more practical advice on using the framework. We have a number of proposals for doing this including creating a “how to” guide using examples of where the Living standards framework has been used.

The workshop also led to an expansion of our governance group. It now includes people from other agencies and local government who are interested in using a multi-faceted assessment tool in their own setting. We hope that together we can help each other to develop our approaches more quickly and more successfully.

The latest newsletter, which includes a summary of our November workshop, is available here: hls-newsletter-jan15.pdf (PDF, 715KB). If you would like the newsletter emailed to you then please contact


Find out more about:

  1. What Treasury thinks is important for living standards from our working paper Working Towards Higher Living Standards for New Zealanders.
  2. The reason why Treasury chose these five aspects:
  1. Support for people applying the Treasury framework through draft policy analyst guides and background notes.  We would like to encourage feedback on these. Contact us at
Documents are available in PDF format only. Contact to request HTML versions. Using PDF Files
  1. A living standards hub that anyone can join at where we are encouraging researchers to contribute to an evidence base that is available to everyone working in this area.
  2. Raising living standards is core Treasury business, an article by Dr Girol Karacaoglu published in the National Business Review on Friday 15 November

Our next steps are ...

  • working collaboratively with others across the public sector to develop measures for each of the five key aspects. New Zealand's performance over the last 150 years: hls-performance-150years.pdf (651 KB)
  • using the Living Standards aid in our work, and assess whether it improves our policy advice
  • building on the Living Standards Hub to work with others to develop our framework further.
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