"We will use the Living Standards Framework developed by the New Zealand Treasury to help develop our budget, and to measure our success."
Grant Robertson, New Zealand Finance Minister

While New Zealand is still developing its new national approach to reporting performance against wellbeing, the government’s latest budget shows that language is already shifting to reflect this focus on more holistic national outcomes. Economic growth is often the focus of budget discussions. However, New Zealand is reframing the narrative, with financial performance as one component of a broader success story and as a means to an end of delivering benefits to the country’s people, environment and communities.

The New Zealand Government intends to use the new Living Standards Framework to guide the development of future budgets. This is an important function of performance frameworks, but it is one that is often undervalued. A performance framework that contains appropriate outcomes and measures covering the things that are important for the project, the organisation or, in New Zealand’s case, the nation, provides direction for investment and action. It commits to delivering outcomes above outputs, which allows agencies the flexibility to identify the most efficient and effective ways to spend government money (or, to use New Zealand’s preferred term, invest) in order to achieve those outcomes. And that’s good for everyone.


This insight was written in response to the article ‘Measuring success differently’: New Zealand budget’s shift in economic thinking’ by David Donaldson which first appeared on themandarin.com.au on 18 May 2018.