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Culture, Wellbeing and the Living Standards Framework: A Perspective (June 2019)

This Discussion Paper provides a perspective on how to better reflect culture in the Living Standards Framework (LSF). It was jointly commissioned by the Treasury and Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage; and written by Lincoln University economists Professor Caroline Saunders and Professor Paul Dalziel, working with Dr Catherine Savage (Ihi Research).

It forms part of a series of papers published by the Treasury to generate discussion on key issues in developing the LSF and the LSF Dashboard.

Read Culture, Wellbeing and the Living Standards Framework: A Perspective.

The Treasury developed the LSF to strengthen the quality of its policy advice through the more consistent use of wellbeing data and evidence. The LSF Dashboard pulls together a range of wellbeing indicators which inform the Treasury’s advice on policy priorities for improving New Zealanders’ living standards.

The LSF and the LSF Dashboard are a work in progress and will continue to evolve over time. As well as culture, priority areas for further work include better reflecting Te Ao Māori and Pacific perspectives, child well-being and distributional indicators in the LSF and the Dashboard.

This paper is the first step in the process to better incorporate culture into the LSF and Dashboard. Key questions considered in the newly released paper include:

  • What are the different dimensions of culture that matter for New Zealanders’ wellbeing?
  • What would be the advantages and disadvantages of creating a fifth capital stock under the heading Cultural Capital in the LSF?
  • What set of indicators and statistical measures should there be to monitor the contribution of cultural capital to future wellbeing?

This discussion paper is based on AERU Research Report No. 353 of the same title.  The full references for the sources cited in this report can be found in this paper. A copy of the full Research Report can be downloaded at:

Updated on 11th January 2022