This bill will ensure that New Zealand governments balance economic opportunity with environmental responsibility. It does this by providing a framework for parliamentary scrutiny of sustainable development indicators of New Zealand as a context for guidance for decisions on the Government’s expenditure proposals and the Government’s management of its assets and liabilities; and specifies the principles of sustainable development for New Zealand as a context for the conduct of fiscal policy.
Simply put, the way we define and measure progress goes to the very core of how we run our economy. Our singular focus on growing GDP has concealed the related decline in other measures of our prosperity, like the rapidly declining quality of water in our rivers and lakes, or the record growth in inequality within New Zealand. If we change the measure, we’re likely to change the outcome.
This bill proposes 39 environmental indicators that can be included in our national set of accounts. The indicators fall into seven key subcategories relating to our biodiversity, air & atmosphere, water quality, land use, energy use, waste, and population.