Tuesday, 3 Mar 2020
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Young children enjoy their shared working space at Ormiston School

Photo: Chris Sisarich for NZ Story

If you use the Treasury’s Living Standards Framework (LSF) Dashboard to assist with policy analysis and measurement, you may have noticed some pre-Christmas changes.

The LSF Dashboard (the Dashboard) was updated on 12 December 2019 to include new data available up to 15 November 2019.  You can check it out here.

As well as including data released since the Dashboard was first published in December 2018, we have added some new indicators and distributional analyses.  We have also refreshed the Dashboard’s layout and presentation, and included some new charts. 

What is the LSF and the LSF Dashboard?

The Dashboard is a measurement tool that was designed to support the Treasury in using the LSF.  

The LSF is a flexible policy tool that the Treasury uses to bring clarity and consistency to our consideration of broad impacts – as well as sustainability and distributional implications – in the advice we give.  We see robust economics as drawing upon a broad range of data and evidence in our policy advice and decision-making, and in defining what it means for us to progress as a country.  This is increasingly important in the context of complex and multi-dimensional challenges like climate change, inequality and technological change.

LSF A3 Poster - LSF at a glance
The Dashboard is one of the sources of evidence that feeds into the Treasury’s strategic advice.  The Dashboard is publicly accessible in the interest of transparency.  However, its main purpose is to inform our advice about cross-government policy priorities for improving wellbeing.  For example, analysis of the LSF Dashboard indicators, alongside other wellbeing evidence, informed the development of the five Budget priorities in the 2019 Wellbeing Budget.  Looking ahead, it will be used to inform some of the Treasury’s long-term and strategic products, such as the new four-yearly wellbeing report that the Public Finance Act 1989 amendments will require us to produce.

The Dashboard provides a snapshot of wellbeing across the LSF domains of current wellbeing and the Four Capitals.  The picture below shows how the three sections of the Dashboard – Our country, Our people, and Our future – relate to the LSF.  The ‘Our country’ section provides indicators and measures across the 12 LSF domains of current wellbeing, while ‘Our future’ presents indicators for the Four Capitals (natural, human, social, and financial and physical). ‘Our people’ provides supplementary analysis of wellbeing across the LSF domains for different groups of New Zealanders.

How the LSF Dashboard links to the Living Standards Framework

Lining up (more) with Stats NZ’s indicators…

The update also fulfils the Treasury’s Cabinet commitment to update the Dashboard by December 2019 and, in particular, to improve the alignment of the indicators with Stats NZ’s Ngā Tūtohu Aotearoa - Indicators Aotearoa  New Zealand.  

Roughly 60% of the Dashboard indicators are now drawn from Ngā Tūtohu Aotearoa.  We have aligned with Ngā Tūtohu Aotearoa where possible, but there are still some differences between the two measurement frameworks, each having been designed for different purposes.  While Ngā Tūtohu Aotearoa has identified data gaps, the Dashboard’s policy focus means that we have used the best indicators for which data is currently available.  We have also chosen indicators that enable international comparisons and distributional analysis, in line with our intention to use the Dashboard for conducting policy analysis.

…and the OECD’s recommendations

We also took the opportunity to respond to the OECD’s recommendations on the Dashboard in their “Economic Survey of New Zealand 2019”.  As a result, we’ve included new measures to strengthen the measurement of natural capital, innovation investments and human capital, and will respond to the OECD’s recommendations to better reflect cultural identity and indigenous perspectives during the refresh of the LSF and the Dashboard that we are planning for 2021.

Look out for opportunities to engage on the 2021 LSF refresh

We are working towards a more substantive refresh of the LSF and the Dashboard in 2021.  Our focus will be on developing the LSF to better reflect Te Ao Māori and Pacific Peoples’ perspectives and worldviews; what matters for child wellbeing; and the different ways in which culture contributes to wellbeing.  Look out for opportunities to engage on this emerging work early in 2021 – we will proactively contact some groups, and will also publish information on our website.


And what’s in it for you?  You may find the Dashboard a useful resource to inform the long-term wellbeing aspects of your policy or planning work.  Although it is a valuable tool, we would never expect the Dashboard to be the only – or even the main – source of evidence for the Treasury’s or other agencies’ advice or ‘value stories’.  It is designed to inform the Treasury’s strategic advice first and foremost; agencies should draw on a broad and deep range of quantitative and qualitative wellbeing evidence.  The Dashboard is just one source of such evidence.

For more information on the December 2019 Dashboard Update see: Living Standards Framework Dashboard Update - December 2019.

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