Kiwis want Government's Wellbeing Budget to focus on healthcare

Healthcare is the number one issue Kiwis hope Thursday's Budget will address, according to a new survey.

A public poll from Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ), and conducted by Ipsos, found that 46.7 percent of 762 respondents believed healthcare was a key issue the Government's Budget should address.

The Wellbeing Budget will be revealed on Thursday, with a focus less on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the economy than in past years, and more on ensuring Kiwis' wellbeing.

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

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 basis of the new approach.

It has five key priorities:

  • Creating opportunities for productive businesses, regions, iwi and others to transition to a sustainable and low-emissions economy.

  • Supporting a thriving nation in the digital age through innovation, social and economic opportunities.

  • Lifting Māori and Pacific incomes, skills and opportunities.

  • Reducing child poverty and improving child wellbeing, including addressing family violence.

  • Supporting mental wellbeing for all New Zealanders, with a special focus on under 24-year-olds.

But the poll asked people to put aside those priorities and list up to three priorities they wanted the Budget to focus on.

Behind healthcare was housing with 33.8 percent of people in support and poverty with 30.7 percent. Of the listed priorities, innovation received the lowest support with only 3 percent of respondents considering it a priority.

"These are the nitty gritty areas New Zealanders want the Government to deliver on," said Peter Vial, New Zealand country head for CAANZ.

"So far we have seen a lot of aspiration for the Wellbeing Budget."

The survey also found 62.8 percent of respondents agreed with the Budget broadening "beyond economic and tax policy to include wellbeing and the environment".

But 10.9 percent didn't agree and 26.3 percent were unsure.

"Our poll shows that, while there is strong support for an overall wellbeing approach, the Government has a big job ahead of it in tomorrow's Budget to deliver on public expectations," said Vial.

Of the Budget's five key priorities, 46.4 percent didn't support all five.

Reducing child poverty was the highest priority of 45.9 percent of respondents, followed by a thriving nation in the digital age.

The full details of the Budget will be announced on Thursday, but the National Party already claims they have revealed some of the key figures.

One question in the poll: Putting aside the Wellbeing Budget priorities above, what do you think the Budget should be focused on? [Respondents listed up to 3 priorities]

Healthcare                              46.7%
Housing                                  33.8%
Poverty                                   30.7%
Education                               30.6%
Environment                            23%
Economic growth                    21.4%
Employment                            19.4%
Combating crime                     17.9%
Inequality                                 10.9%
Superannuation                       10.6%
Tax reform                                9.1%
Government debt                     8.1%
Immigration                              6.8%
Innovation                                3%
Other                                       2.5%
Not sure                                  1.8%


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