The Government's focus on wellbeing for the 2019 Budget promises a broader focus for public policy. There is however a risk that wellbeing as defined by such things as Treasury's Living Standards framework and Statistics NZ's Indicators Aotearoa becomes so complex and vague that it fails to ignite public support for the idea. There is a risk too that the Government is less than precise about what it means by wellbeing so that the concept comes to mean everything and nothing.
To overcome such challenges there is a need to popularise the idea of wellbeing and to be more precise about the policy intentions behind this focus. In particular wellbeing needs to be demonstrated by tangible examples and clarity is required around how this wellbeing focus will address inequalities.
The Salvation Army in its 2019 State of the Nation report "Are you well? Are we safe?" has attempted to address these demands. The 2019 report has taken a wellbeing approach to reporting on New Zealand's social progress as a way of popularising the idea. As well, the report has tried to draw attention to the substantial and persistent inequality between Maori and non-Maori with the publication of a gaps table.
The report's authority Alan Johnson will outline the report's analysis and findings and consider Maori- non-Maori inequalities as a moral challenge for all New Zealanders.
About the Presenter: Alan Johnson
Alan Johnson is a senior social policy analyst with The Salvation Army’s Social Policy & Parliamentary Unit. The Unit is entirely funded by The Salvation Army and is based in its community ministry in South Auckland. The Unit’s main purpose is to serve part of the Army’s mission to eradicate poverty in Aotearoa and it does this through a deliberate focus on social justice within public policy.
Alan is the author of the Army’s annual State of the Nation reports and undertakes social research and analysis across a range of topics including housing, children’s wellbeing, work and employment, crime and punishment and social hazards. He has previously worked in policy roles in local government, as a lecturer and in NGO management roles. Alan has an academic background in town planning and economics.