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Discussion paper

A Pacific Perspective on the Living Standards Framework and Wellbeing (DP 18/09)

Issue date: 
Tuesday, 21 August 2018
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Executive summary

The Treasury has been working towards higher living standards for all New Zealanders. Over recent years, the Treasury has developed a Living Standards Framework (LSF) to assess the impact of government policies on current and long-term wellbeing. This framework takes into account the reporting requirements that the Treasury is obligated to deliver to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

This paper has been prepared by the Treasury recognising the growing influence and impact of the Pacific diaspora and intergenerational population on the New Zealand economy and on New Zealand's place in the wider Pacific region.

The Treasury appreciates that there is not a “generic ‘Pacific community' but rather Pacific peoples who align themselves variously, and at different times along ethnic, geographic, church, family, school, age/gender, island-born, New Zealand born, occupational lines or a mix of these” (Anae, Coxon, & Mara, 2001)[1] Despite some cultural differences, Pacific cultures share many commonalities. This paper focuses on the commonalities Pacific New Zealanders share rather than the differences.

The metaphoric model that we refer to in this paper, “Fonofale”, has been deliberately chosen to express the Pacific concepts of wellbeing and “wellness”. This model highlights “family” as the foundation for all Pacific peoples, and “culture” the overarching element under which all important aspects to Pacific peoples are created and maintained, including values and belief systems. This paper suggests that any framework for describing and understanding Pacific peoples must highlight family as the dominant relationship that Pacific peoples acquire from birth, and highlight the key influence that culture plays in the social, human and physical capital stocks of Pacific New Zealanders.

The paper draws on the research and work undertaken by Manuela, S and Sibley 2015[2] on the Pacific Identity and Wellbeing Scale - Revised (PIWBS-R), which identifies six indicators for assessing Pacific identity and wellbeing:

  • Perceived Familial Wellbeing
  • Perceived Societal Wellbeing
  • Group Membership Evaluation
  • Pacific Connectedness and Belonging
  • Religious Centrality and Embeddedness
  • Cultural Efficacy.

This discussion paper points to a gradual shift in culture from first generation to second and third generation Pacific New Zealanders, away from the church as their main collective institution, to other support systems. This action upholds that, while Pacific peoples are continuing to maintain their own cultural norms, they are also adapting, evolving and responding to the environment (context) in which they live.

Data gaps continue to pose a challenge to the Treasury's ability to undertake comprehensive and coherent quantitative and qualitative analysis relevant to Pacific New Zealanders. This paper acknowledges the gaps in the data available on Pacific capital products, and we have identified the lack of coordination and alignment of data between agencies as a key developmental issue.

We intend that this paper will initiate further discussion within government agencies, and the wider community, on what constitutes Pacific peoples' wellbeing.

The Treasury invites comments on this paper (and all others released) to help weave these strands of work together into a relevant, fit-for-purpose set of indicators that we can use to track and monitor our progress towards achieving wellbeing outcomes for all New Zealanders.

Note: Throughout this paper we refer to Pacific peoples homogeneously, but it is important to note that we acknowledge and recognise the diversity within Pacific cultures.


Last updated: 
Tuesday, 21 August 2018