The Haka, the Maori dance performed by the players before each match, and the desperate runs towards the goal of the late Johan Lomu are among the most cliché images of New Zealand.
Thirty-nine years old, leader of the Labour Party, Jacinda is the enfant prodige of New Zealand’s politics. Elected to parliament for the first time in 2008, at the age of 28, she immediately burst into action, becoming, nine years later, party secretary and subsequently prime minister at the head of a progressive government, which had been missing in New Zealand for nine years.
In this light, among the new features, she presented the Wellbeing Budget, a pool of resources that can be used to ensure better standards of living to New Zealand’s citizens. According to Ardern and her team, the "wellbeing" of a country is not only measured by an arid gross domestic product growth digit and a positive trade balance, but also by assessing the wellbeing of those who live, work and pay taxes in New Zealand.
A revolutionary step that the New Zealand government has been working on since the first day it took office, and of which Ardern became an ambassador during the last World Economic Forum in Davos. In front of the great leaders of the Earth, the Prime Minister reiterated that the Wellbeing Budget is the first step to change the way of assessing the wellbeing of the nation, to go beyond mere economic statistics which, when considered individually, give only an incomplete picture of the country.
We must pursue the social welfare of our nation - it has declared Ardern - not only the economic one.
The 5 points of the Wellbeing Budget
- 1. The first point concerns the conversion towards the green economy and the strategic drive to create new business opportunities linked to such transition, which can then have a positive impact on the whole population of New Zealand, from the various regions to the Iwi communities that aggregate native New Zealanders.
- 2. The second macro-area covers the field of technological innovation and related socio-economic opportunities. Thanks to the Wellbeing Budget, measures will be adopted that will aim to make a technological leap forward for New Zealand, an advancement that, according to government forecasts, can also result in an improvement in the lives of citizens.
- 3. The third priority of this special budget is to improve the living conditions of the Maori and Pacific populations through measures aimed at raising family incomes, investing in training and creating new job and social inclusion opportunities.
- 4. The reduction of child poverty is another point on the Wellbeing Budget, with particular attention to cases of family violence stemming from socioeconomic hardships.
- 5. Finally, the Wellbeing Budget aims to be an important resource to give way to policies that target the under 24s and especially their socioeconomic well-being.
The government chaired by Ardern has set the goal of looking at the development of New Zealand through different lenses over the next few years. It will have to consider human capital (the set of knowledge, skills, abilities and emotions acquired during the life of an individual and aimed at achieving social and economic objectives, either individual or collective), social capital (human relations), natural capital (the environment) and financial capital (linked to the economy more closely understood).
Certainly, Jacinda Ardern has shown a great deal of courage at a time when it seems difficult to think beyond the cold numbers of a budget. In New Zealand, in fact, the proposal of the Labour government has shaken the political debate, leading opposition parties to take sides against the Wellbeing Budget. In their opinion, this measure is unlikely to have a real impact on everyday life and is in clear contrast against the needs of the citizens.