Time to measure Nation’s Well-being on Quality of Life

Written by the Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations of New Zealand via Scoop Politics on 8/1/2018

A national outdoor recreation forum wants New Zealand to ditch the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a measurement of New Zealand’s progress and replace it with Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI). Andi Cockroft, chairman of the Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations of New Zealand (CORANZ) said his organisation had been advocating the change in emphasis over the last three elections in a charter presented to political parties and MPs.

“It’s obvious by pressures on not only infrastructure but the quality of life of people, that change to a better balanced criteria is not only desirable but becoming urgent,” he said. “The quest for growth and more growth is short-sighted.”

CORANZ’s comments were in response to news that Indicators Aotearoa New Zealand is being developed by Stats NZ as a source of measures for New Zealand’s well-being. The set of indicators will go beyond economic measures, such as gross domestic product (GDP), to include well-being and sustainable development. The well-being indicators will build on international best practice and will be tailored to New Zealanders by incorporating cultural and Te Ao Māori perspectives.

However CORANZ says it seemed the focus was too narrow and focused only on Maori perspectives.

“We are one nation, a mix of European, Maori, Asian and other ancestries. CORANZ is talking about all New Zealanders,” he said.

CORANZ's election charter said “The index for national prosperity, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) based solely on economic indicators, should be replaced by a Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI_ based on three values - social, environmental and economic, to thus fully measure the quality of life.”

Andi Cockroft said one of the paradoxes of American society was that while our economic standard of living and technology had increased, the country’s environmental standard had declined.

“Once New Zealanders were land-conscious, outdoor people with physical and mental health and largely satisfaction and contentment. Ironically today we are better housed, better nourished and better entertained but were less prepared to inherit the land or to carry on the pursuit of happiness. Technological developments are amazing and even bewildering, but at the same time we are falling prey to the weakness of an indoor nation and the flabbiness of a sedentary society,” he said.

Matthew Wisner