Prime Minister Christopher Luxon wants New Zealand to be Estonia

  • 09/04/2024

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon says he wants New Zealand to be like a small country on the other side of the world: Estonia.

Luxon said his Coalition Government has set some ambitious goals they want New Zealanders to focus on and will take inspiration from other countries to achieve them.

"We are here to improve the country by these targets and as a result, we look at whatever is working around the world," Luxon said.

The comments came after he announced nine specific targets for the Government to deliver in the next six years. They included shorter stays in emergency departments, shorter wait times for (elective) treatment, reduced child and youth offending, reduced violent crime, fewer people on the Jobseeker Support Benefit, increased student attendance, more students at expected curriculum levels, fewer people in emergency housing and reduced net greenhouse gas emissions.   

Speaking at the post-Cabinet press conference after the announcement on Monday, Luxon mentioned how Estonia is a country he wants New Zealand to be like. Appearing on AM on Tuesday, he explained to co-host Lloyd Burr why.

"I really have a vision by 2040, I want New Zealand to be one of the leading, advanced, small countries on Earth," Luxon said.

"For that to happen I want us to be more prosperous economically, I want us to be doing better socially and I want us to be delivering on our environmental goals and targets."

When he looked around the world at advanced countries with a similar population, Estonia stood out.

"They've done some fantastic work on bringing digital services to their public services. The customer service mindset about how their government interfaces with their citizens," Luxon said.

Estonia, a small nation in the Baltic region, has long been renowned for digitisation in public life. Estonia has digitised 99 percent of its public services, including tax filings and public voting.

In a 2019 report, the Estonian government claimed that this digitisation of public services saves more than 1,400 years of working time and two percent of its GDP annually.

Luxon added he also looks at Ireland's work in research development and innovation, science and technology, as well as Singapore's delivery with their public service.

"I just look at other places to say part of the thing is that many countries around the world are wrestling with the same problems that we have here in New Zealand," he said. 

"We're very successful in a lot of things but where there's things that other countries have done well in, we should just steal it and make sure we bring that into New Zealand's thinking as well."

Watch the video above.