• Budget 2019

Gross National Happiness

Long gone are the days when budget day focused on tax cuts, tax incentives, tariffs and the like. Even later years have had a significant business focus. In keeping with the times, the Government is focusing on the People, using the Living Standards framework, hence reference to it all being about wellbeing. And fair enough too, as long as the numbers support it. We all know measuring GDP has its limits but it underpins the ability for the Government to deliver. The move to Gross National Happiness, and everything that makes life worthwhile, is pretty important stuff, but change for good will come when business, economy and politicians are aligned, otherwise it’s just words and very hard to measure. The Financial and Physical aspects of Wellbeing are a significant cornerstone, and the Government is using its surpluses in this area but in vague ways and lacking in detail, preferring instead to focus the Budget detail on the Human and Social aspects of the Wellbeing of our Living Standards.

At a glance – key points

  • People rather than business

    • Further recognition of mental wellbeing

    • Taking the pressure off families

  • Infrastructure & Innovation

    • $1b to KiwiRail

    • $300m for post start-ups

    • Low carbon future

    • Mana in Mahi   

  • Maori & Pasifika

    • Addressing the inequities

  • Tax

    • Investment hubs rather than incentives

    • GST on digital

  • Economic Impacts

    • Economy still growing but at a lesser rate

    • Forecast wage increases, due to full employment, will surely lead to increased costs of business, ultimately passed on to the person in the street. An economic vicious circle that must ultimately mean higher inflation

    • Indexing benefits

We all know that money doesn’t buy happiness, and while the best things in life are free, running a country needs money, so it’s a fine balance to maintain Wellbeing and Happiness. Business provides the foundation to support the economic framework and its human, social and natural resource elements. And let us not forget the children, the future generations, and our responsibility to them and the planet. The Wellbeing of our Planet and our People will ultimately feed back into successful business, if we all work together. Clearly this is a work in progress as it requires more than a Budget, it requires a genuine change in mind-set, and our Business and Political Leaders to lead with a common purpose. Our future and our children’s future depend on it.