Media advisory

Wellbeing report background papers published

Five background papers were published today to accompany the release of the Treasury’s first wellbeing report, Te Tai Waiora: Wellbeing in Aotearoa New Zealand 2022. They are the latest in a series of background papers that provide in-depth information and analysis supporting the content of Te Tai Waiora.

  • New Zealand’s wellbeing: Is it sustainable and what are the risks?
    This paper looks at how New Zealand’s resources have tracked over time and what this says about the sustainability of our wealth. It focuses on some of the major risks to wellbeing, including the role of long-sequence major risks, such as earthquakes, and more immediate risks, such as climate change, and considers the role of resilience in mitigating the impacts. As many of the most pressing risks are to our natural environment, this paper should be read in conjunction with the NZIER report on the natural environment.
  • Wellbeing and natural capital: Understanding the sustainability and risks
    The Treasury commissioned NZIER to investigate the existing empirical evidence on the sustainability of the contribution of New Zealand’s natural environment to the wellbeing of its people. The objective of this ‘synthesis’ report is to review and summarise measures of natural capital and ecosystem services for New Zealand and what they say about our natural environment in relation to the sustainability of, and any risk to, the state of wellbeing in the country.
  • Our wellbeing throughout the COVID-19 pandemic
    This paper is a review of evidence about changes in New Zealanders’ wellbeing from the arrival of COVID-19 in early 2020 through to the first quarter of 2022. It uses the Living Standards Framework to provide a summary-level view across a wide set of wellbeing indicators.

The papers published today follow the release of two other background papers earlier in 2022.

  • Trends in Wellbeing in Aotearoa New Zealand: 2000-2020
    This paper provides a high-level summary of some key trends in the domains of wellbeing in the Living Standards Framework. It provides a domain-by-domain analysis of levels, trends and distribution of indicators for each domain.

The Treasury will publish more background papers over the coming weeks and early 2023, with advisories to be issued at the time. The following papers are planned for publication.

  • Estimating the value of New Zealand’s Human Capability 1986-2018
    Updating estimates of human capital using the 2018 Census. This paper extends previous analysis by estimating human capital for Māori and non-Māori.
  • Pacific Peoples’ Wellbeing
    This paper explores Pacific worldviews and community structures, and why they matter to Pacific peoples’ wellbeing. It provides information about how Pacific people in New Zealand are faring across a range of wellbeing domains.
  • Trends in Māori Wellbeing
    An exploration of current and emerging trends in Māori wellbeing using He Ara Waiora. The paper draws on quantitative evidence, including indicators from the LSF Dashboard and Indicators Aotearoa New Zealand. The analysis is also supported by qualitative evidence in the form of interview quotes from Māori participants and associated commentary.
  • The distribution of advantage in Aotearoa New Zealand
    An overview of the evidence of distribution, inequality and mobility in New Zealand, including the characteristics and clustering of multiple disadvantage.
  • Equality, equity and distributive justice
    A survey of the literature, addressing what we mean by concepts such as ‘equality’ and ‘equity’, and reasons why economic inequality might be problematic.


Bryan McDaniel, Principal Communications Advisor
Telephone: (04) 917 6268
Email: [email protected]