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Purpose of the Social Report

The Social Report has four key aims:

  • to provide and monitor over time measures of wellbeing and quality of life that complement existing economic and environmental indicators
  • to compare New Zealand with other countries on measures of wellbeing
  • to provide greater transparency in government and to contribute to better-informed public debate
  • to help identify key issues and areas where we need to take action, which can in turn help with planning and decision making.

The Report enables us to examine the current level of wellbeing in New Zealand, how this has changed over time, and how different groups in the population are faring. It helps us to identify adverse trends in social outcomes at an early stage. While the Report cannot always illuminate what is driving these trends, it can point to the need for further research to understand what is happening and what actions need to be taken to address them.

Government policy, as well as individuals, families, communities, businesses and international factors, influence the outcomes we report on. The cross-cutting nature of many social issues means the social report is not a tool for evaluating the effectiveness of specific government policies.