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Conclusion

Economic performance, the government's fiscal position and the well-being of New Zealanders are inextricably linked. When people are able to participate fully in the economy and society it improves their quality of life, the strength of New Zealand's economy and the health of the government's books. In turn, managing government finances responsibly and making services more effective can make a significant difference to living standards now and in the decades ahead.

There are many big opportunities in front of New Zealand that can have a positive impact on its long-term future. A labour market consisting of highly skilled, diverse, connected and adaptable participants is more likely to grow the economy and associated fiscal revenue; improving New Zealanders' participation in society not only improves long-term prospects for those currently excluded, but will also reduce the long-term cost of welfare and other social services; and natural resources can be managed with a focus on what will make the greatest contribution to higher living standards based on what is important to New Zealanders.

Changes to economic growth, labour markets and social outcomes will have direct effects on the government's long-term fiscal position and New Zealand's long-term well-being. The scenarios outlined in this report show governments have many options that can help shape what those effects could be. While fiscal benefits are not the only measure of success, they can help choose the policies and actions which will be most effective. Ultimately the aim is to be able to look ahead 40 years and see what it might take to ensure a prosperous, sustainable and inclusive New Zealand. By making well-informed choices today and over the next several years with a view to the long-term, governments can ensure long-term fiscal sustainability and help lift living standards for future generations.

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