Treasury has been labelled bizarre and out of touch for playing a game involving 'wellbeing cards'.
The Prime Minister is distancing herself and her Ministers from the cards, which mention 'moon and sun feelings'.
It's the busiest time of year for Treasury in the lead up to the Budget. This year is particularly intense as the Government prepares the world's first ever 'Wellbeing Budget'.
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It coincides with a new tool to help staff: a wellbeing card game.
"This is bizarre and actually wrong that the Government's advisors, Treasury, are doing this sort of carry-on going on, given the issues we've got all around New Zealand," National leader Simon Bridges told Newshub.
Treasury staff have been playing the game to help improve communication and empathy. It's hosting a big promotional event next week at $34.73 a head to cover expenses.
The cards claim to name over 100 feelings, including "sun feelings" and "moon feelings". When asked if she knows what sun and moon feelings are, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she doesn't.
"I can't, unfortunately, answer that."
Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters was a little more forthcoming - even if his remarks were difficult to understand.
"I do have a few ideas about what moon feelings are and a few other expressions where the moon is referred to, but you don't know about it, okay?"
Bridges was dismissive.
"To have the Treasury doing stuff on their 'moon and sun feelings' - so out of touch."
He says if you asked people how their moon feelings are, "they'd either laugh or they'd punch you".
The wellbeing cards cost $113.85 and were created by a group called Heartwork, helped along by Government Ministries - ACC, Treasury and Women and the Environment, among others.
Green MP Chloe Swarbrick features in the promotional video.
"I'm not here, as one individual, to prescribe what certain workplaces should be doing with their time," she told Newshub.
Ardern was quick to distance herself from the initiative.
"It's obviously not something I as Prime Minister, or any of our Ministers, have anything to do with."
Heartwork's website gives examples of how conversations might go down without the wellbeing cards. A manager says 'There's no way this report can go out,' and a staffer replies 'This is useless, I'm useless, my manager is such a dick, I hate this place'.
But with the wellbeing cards, the exchange goes like this: 'I know autonomy is important to you,' says the manager. 'I really want to meet that need'.
In return, the staffer is grateful for the sharing and happy to chat.
Treasury refused to be interviewed but was at pains to point out the wellbeing cards are separate from the Government's Wellbeing Budget.
The problem is as well-intentioned as this game may be, the Government is already battling criticism its Budget is fluffy and 'feel good'. Talking about moon feelings isn't helping.