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Working paper

Gender Budgeting: A Useful Approach for Aotearoa New Zealand (WP 18/02)

Issue date: 
Wednesday, 18 April 2018
View point: 
Publication category: 
JEL classification: 
H2 - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - General
H5 - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - General
I3 - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - General
J16 - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
Fiscal year: 

Formats and related files

The purpose of this paper is to explore whether gender budgeting concepts could contribute to fiscal reporting in New Zealand.


Gender budgeting provides a way of analysing government expenditure and fiscal policy to promote gender equality. It can take many forms in practice including analysis of budget allocations, the structure of fiscal policies, expenditure tracking and monitoring systems to identify gender bias, whether explicit or implicit. It is generally understood that to ensure success such initiatives should be supported by both government and civil society.

The concept of gender budgeting is now accepted globally, gaining the support of the OECD, the United Nations, the ILO, and the IMF. Some form of gender budgeting is now undertaken in over 80 countries, and while there have historically been many examples of effective application in developing countries, it is now also gaining popularity in OECD and G7 countries as they seek to address gender equality issues. This paper includes an example of gender analysis on tax concessions but other studies have focused on health, education, and labour market incentives.

New Zealand has not introduced any formal gender budgeting initiatives. In this paper, its 2016 Tax Expenditure Statement was reviewed, and identified as lacking any gender specific analysis but including a number of expenditures that could have a potentially negative impact on gender equality. Tax expenditures are generally not recognised and treated as expenditure, although the financial impact is the same, and this small example illustrates how gender budgeting has the potential to provide greater transparency and analysis of expenditure on tax concessions.

The paper discusses increasing the transparency of tax expenditures as an example of how gender budgeting could increase fiscal transparency in New Zealand. This paper argues that New Zealand would benefit from exploring the potential application of gender budgeting principles to increase the transparency of fiscal policy and inform policy debate.


The author would like to acknowledge Associate Professor Helen Hodgson as this paper draws on a conference paper prepared by Associate Professor Hodgson and Suzy Morrissey ‘Gender Budgeting – Governments, Civil Society and Gender Bias’ presented at the Australasian Tax Teachers Association (ATTA) Conference, February 2017 in Wellington.

The author would also like to acknowledge the work of Henry Neas who analysed the Tax Expenditure Statement as a summer intern at the Treasury.

The author would like to thank all those who reviewed and commented on drafts of this paper. All errors are nevertheless mine.


The views, opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this Working Paper are strictly those of the author(s). They do not necessarily reflect the views of the New Zealand Treasury or the New Zealand Government. The New Zealand Treasury and the New Zealand Government take no responsibility for any errors or omissions in, or for the correctness of, the information contained in these working papers. The paper is presented not as policy, but with a view to inform and stimulate wider debate.


Last updated: 
Wednesday, 18 April 2018