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Annual Report of the Treasury for the Year Ended 30 June 2016

Lifting Living Standards for New Zealanders

The Living Standards Framework helps to ensure, and to understand how, the Treasury's advice impacts across all the dimensions that matter for New Zealanders' living standards. This framework recognises that lifting the living standards of New Zealanders involves more than economic growth. We see three dimensions of economic performance as contributing to living standards:

  • Prosperity. Economic performance is about higher incomes and jobs for New Zealanders.
  • Sustainability.Economic performance is not just about prosperity today; it is also about prosperity tomorrow – and the future prosperity of our children.
  • Inclusiveness. Economic performance is about all New Zealanders having a role to play in the economy and society.

We want economic growth to bring prosperity but we also want that growth and the higher incomes and jobs that it brings. We also want an economy that is sustainable today and for future generations that brings social benefits, is resilient and enables equitable outcomes. These three dimensions are mutually supporting and will help to support improved living standards for all New Zealanders.

Medium-term Indicators of Success
Indicator Desired trend Result Comment
New Zealand has higher living standards as shown by its position on the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's (OECD's) Better Life Index. 7th

New Zealand tends to perform highly on wellbeing indicators because many of our outcomes (such as health and education) are high compared to our GDP per capita. The most appropriate index for a highly developed country is the OECD's Better Life Index, which covers 11 different aspects of life such as income, housing, education, health, work-life balance and life satisfaction. The figures provided are the ranking against the other countries in the index giving each aspect equal weight.

New Zealand ranked 7th in the 2016 index compared to 11th in the 2013 index.


Holding On and Letting Go [1] has provided the Treasury with the platform for its policy-making and advice. In 2016, the Treasury commenced the development of its next Long-term Fiscal Statement, through which we intend to provide and stimulate debate more widely about New Zealand's longer-term future, and provide direction for our ongoing policy work and organisational priorities.


  • [1]Holding On and Letting Go provides the Treasury’s current perspective on the strategic opportunities and challenges facing New Zealand in striving for a prosperous, sustainable and inclusive future. The strategic challenges identified here are framing our policy advice and our investment work to build our capability to advise future governments.
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