Jacinda Ardern pitches 'Wellbeing Budget' to world leaders

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says there has been immense interest in the 'Wellbeing Budget' her Government will implement this year, at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

It's expected to focus less on improving Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the economy than in past years, and more on ensuring New Zealanders' wellbeing.

Ms Ardern said New Zealand will be one of the first in the world to change its perspective on success - something that is generating great interest among economic institutions and world leaders.

"Institutions like the OECD, for some time now, they have been encouraging economies to look beyond just economic measures of success and look at the wellbeing of our people, and in New Zealand we're now starting to embed that in the way we do things," she said.

"It just not the way governments globally tend to operate."

Bids to Finance Minister Grant Robertson for cash in the Wellbeing Budget will not only require a cost-benefit analysis, but also wellbeing impact summaries.

"In the past ministers just put in bids for whatever they think is important to them; now we are asking them to think about the consequences across generation and across different areas," said Ms Ardern.

The Living Standards Framework, a dashboard of roughly 60 indicators of how well the environment, New Zealanders and the economy is faring, will form the bases of the new approach. Data from multiple sources, such as from the OECD, will be used to provide international comparisons.

Ministers will also have to work together to consider the inter-generational consequences of how they use taxpayer money - such as the Minister of Health, Minister of Education, and Minister for Children collaborating to ensure Kiwi children's mental health is looked after.

Making sure New Zealand still has a 'rock star' economy and businesses are thriving will remain important - but ensuring New Zealanders are feeling effects of the country's success will now be a key focus as well.

Ms Ardern said she was yet to meet anyone at Davos who was sceptical of the concept, which she says proves GDP is a limited means of measuring success, and can - for example - go up while the environment is being degraded.

"The momentum for this has been building for some time," she said.

"GDP only tells us so much - it doesn't tell us about our mental health and wellbeing, what's going with housing people, the performance of our education sector, this is all about saying, 'Actually, how well are we performing as a government for the people?'"

Ms Ardern admitted it will take time for the results to be seen, and it's unlikely to be during this electoral cycle, but future Governments will have to report on them.