Over the last 3 days the Government has provided context for change.
Finance Minister Grant Robertson made the change in direction from the previous National-led government distinct yesterday in a speech to the Local Government Association’s annual conference in Christchurch.
His central point is to move away from the purely economic measure of gross domestic product (gdp): “We are taking a broader view of success, by looking at how we improve the living standards & wellbeing of all New Zealanders.”
He also wants to replace the broken local council funding system, but that at the moment is a more complicated story.
Housing & Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford’s aims & preferred methods are distinctly different from those of predecessor Nick Smith, as he made clear in a visit to Mangere on Friday for the start of the programme to regenerate Housing NZ stock: “This is a first for a total joined-up approach for transitioning infrastructure & regeneration.”
And in tertiary education, Education Minister Chris Hipkins advanced his thinking on Friday on appointing a commissioner to replace the board at Unitec. From what I can see in board documents, Unitec’s problems were more about national governance than what Unitec itself was trying to achieve, but the outcome ought to be a vast improvement in handling education for trades, particularly those related to construction. The aim: to prioritise vocational education & training after a period when funding clearly didn’t match that aim.
I’ve posted separate articles on Mr Robertson’s speech and Mr Twyford’s visit to Mangere. You can also check the links below to Mr Robertson’s speech and Mr Hipkins’ brief statements on Unitec (no story on that one at the moment).
My own view:
I haven’t analysed the wellbeing & living standards framework methods of calculation, but I know gross domestic product is a poor measurement which was being misused. For some time I’ve preferred to calculate GDP per capita to see if New Zealand’s economy was actually strengthening, given that 4 years of high migration inflows ought to lift overall production, but not (at least immediately) raise growth/head.
Related stories, 16 July 2018:
Putting change in context
Robertson outlines focus shift from GDP measure to wellbeing
Demolition starts on Mangere regeneration project
Finance minister calls Productivity Commission in to examine local body funding
Attribution: Government announcements.