Next year’s Budget will have a special emphasis on mental health, Finance Minister Grant Robertson has revealed.
Speaking to the Labour Party conference in Dunedin he said mental health will be one of the five core priorities that would define the first “Wellbeing Budget.”
He said more details would be revealed in December in the Budget Policy Statement.
“They [will] cover areas where we think the outcomes will make a substantive difference to both our current and future wellbeing – and yes, we will finally be giving mental health the priority and focus that it deserves.”
At the half yearly opening of the books in December, Treasury would release a “dashboard” of indicators showing the current wellbeing of the country, said Robertson.
“It includes the tangible, like incomes and home ownership, but also the intangible like life satisfaction and cultural wellbeing.
“It is a work in progress,” he said.
“We need to make sure it is truly reflective of Aotearoa New Zealand and all that makes us unique. It will evolve over the coming years but it is a great start to a new way of thinking about what counts as success.”
The concept of a wellbeing budget has been well foreshadowed and is a refinement of work begun under former Finance Minister Bill English under the aegis of the Living Standards Framework.
Robertson said there were limitations in tracking success on narrow measures such as gdp growth.
“We are moving beyond gdp to not just look at our financial health, but also the health of our environment and strength of our communities.
“I will report on all of those measures at budget time, including on how we are tracking at reducing child poverty.”
Speaking to reporters after his speech, alongside Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Robertson said all New Zealanders understood that the country had not done enough over a long period of time to make sure that mental wellbeing was of the highest standard.
Robertson’s speech was followed by youth panel chaired by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, some of who talked about the mental health pressures on youth today.
Source: NZ Herald