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Higher Living Standards

Page updated 14 Nov 2017

A Four Capitals approach

Our vision is focused on higher living standards for New Zealanders. Achieving this requires growing the country's human, social, natural, and financial/physical capitals which together represent New Zealand's economic capital.

Higher Living Standards - The Four Capitals - Natural, social, human and financial/physical

Living standards: a broad range

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 news about our Living Standards Work

Read our latest newsletter, hls-newsletter-apr17.pdf (PDF, 249 KB), to hear about:

  • Tim Ng, Deputy Secretary (Chief Economic Advisor) taking over the Treasury leadership of the Living Standards Framework
  • Our "Investing in Living Standards" Workshop held at Auckland University of Technology on 1 March which provided an opportunity for central and local government to engage directly with businesses about raising living standards. It featured presentations by Gabriel Makhlouf (Secretary to the Treasury), David Smol (Chief Executive of MBIE), and Jim Quinn (Chief of Strategy, Auckland Council). Read the full report of the workshop: hls-investing-living-standards-report.pdf (PDF, 1,008 KB).

If you would like to have the newsletter emailed to you 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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