New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Arden, is a breath of fresh air. The world took particular note of her leadership style during the unfortunate terrorist incident that took place in that country a few months ago. She appeared kind, empathetic and her government took swift action in the wake of the attacks by banning military-style semi-automatic rifles.
On May 30th, she and her government released the first ever Wellbeing budget where the focus will be on the following:
- Supporting mental health
- Improving child well-being
- Supporting indigenous people
- Improving the nations productivity through innovation, social and economic opportunities
In her introduction to the budget she writes, ‘..while economic growth is important – and something we will continue to pursue – it alone does not guarantee improvements to our living standards…Growth alone does not lead to a great country. So it’s time to focus on those things that do’. The budget does highlight the fact that New Zealanders enjoy relatively high levels of wellbeing with a few areas that need improvement. (interestingly, New Zealand ranked 8th in the recent World Happiness report).
This budget has received a fair amount of criticism but is still a novel idea worth pursuing, particularly in this era of heightened stress levels, inequality and general global instability. It’s a long read but worth taking the time to do so.