Applause for New Zealand 'Wellbeing Budget' That Dedicates Billions to Mental Health Care and Ending Child Poverty
Pledging to follow through on her promise to form a new kind of government focused on benefiting those often overlooked by lawmakers, the prime minister of New Zealand on Thursday unveiled her proposed spending plan for the coming year—the world’s first “wellbeing budget.”
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The proposed 2019 budget includes billions of dollars for mental health services, support for indigenous people and victims of domestic violence, and funding to help pull children out of poverty.
“We said that we would be a government that did things differently, and for this budget we have done just that,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “Today we have laid the foundation for not just one wellbeing budget, but a different approach for government decision-making altogether.”
Ardern and her finance minister, Grant Robertson, shared a video on social media ahead of their budget presentation before Parliament, explaining how their budget will be different than those in past years.
“We want to make sure that we’re growing the economy in a sustainable way,” said Robertson.
Ardern directed government agencies to ensure that their policies support working and lower-income families and designed her entire budget around prioritizing the well-being of people who have previously had little political power.
Doing so, Ardern’s finance minister said, is a greater key to New Zealand’s success than simply measuring the overall economic growth the country is expected to enjoy in the coming years.
“Success is making New Zealand both a great place to make a living, and a great place to make a life,” Grant Robertson told Parliament at the administration’s budget presentation.
“It could be a game-changer for New Zealand’s children.” —Andrew Becroft, children’s commissioner
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