Presenting New Zealand's wellbeing across Our people, Our country and Our future

The Treasury developed the Living Standards Framework Dashboard (LSF Dashboard), a practical set of meaningful current and future wellbeing indicators, to inform its policy advice. We are making the LSF Dashboard publicly available so that others can see some of the work that assists us to provide advice

An introduction to the LSF Dashboard can be found here.
Worked examples of how the LSF Dashboard can be used for policy analysis can be found here.
Data used in the LSF Dashboard can be downloaded here.
Current wellbeing in domains like enviroment or housing informs indicators of future wellbeing,
            which we define as human, natural, physical and financial, and social capital. 
            These capitals represent New Zealand's risk and resilience in the future.

Our people

Our people describes the current wellbeing of New Zealanders aged 15 and over across the LSF's current wellbeing domains.

Our country

Our country describes the progress we are making towards high wellbeing for all New Zealanders for each of the 12 LSF current wellbeing domains.

Our future

Our future describes the resources (four capitals) that influence our ability to have great future wellbeing in New Zealand

Introduction to Our people


Our people describes the distribution of wellbeing across current wellbeing domains for different population groups of New Zealanders aged 15 and over. The dashboard also explores the ways in which wellbeing in one domain is associated with wellbeing in others, at the whole population or subpopulation levels. No measures are currently available for Jobs and earnings, Environment and Time use.
For more detail, please refer to: LSF Dashboard Quick Guide - Our people

Population group comparisons

Population comparison spider chart.

The Population group comparisons section compares current wellbeing within population groups such as age, ethnicity and sex.

Explore Population group comparisons

The Mix and match comparisons section compares the current wellbeing of one population group such as age with another population group such as sex.

Explore Mix and match comparisons

LSF domain comparisons

Domain comparison heatmap.

Explores the way each domain of current wellbeing relates to other current wellbeing domains.

Explore LSF domain comparisons

LSF Wellbeing overview

Domain stacked bar chart.

Outlines how current wellbeing is defined, and shows how many New Zealanders have high and low wellbeing according to these definitions.

Explore LSF Wellbeing overview

User Input

Population group comparisons

This page compares current wellbeing within different population groups such as age, ethnicity and sex across the domains of current wellbeing.

Differences in the probability of having low and high wellbeing across LSF domains compared to the rest of the population (percentage points). By population characteristic, New Zealand population aged 15 and over.

Source: Stats NZ, General Social Survey 2014 and 2016

User Input

Mix and match comparisons

This page compares current wellbeing between different population groups defined by characteristics such as age, ethnicity and sex.


Difference in the probability of having low and high wellbeing across LSF domains (percentage points).For selected population groups, New Zealand population aged 15 and over

Source: Stats NZ, General Social Survey 2014 and 2016






User Input

LSF domain comparisons

This page shows how each domain of current wellbeing relates to other current wellbeing domains.


Difference in the probability of having low/high wellbeing in a domain if a person has low/high wellbeing in another domain (percentage points). For selected population group, New Zealand population aged 15 and over

Source: Stats NZ, General Social Survey 2014 and 2016


User Input

LSF Wellbeing overview

This section defines the way we measure the current wellbeing of New Zealanders in Our people , and shows how many New Zealanders have high and low wellbeing according to these definitions. Wellbeing is defined according to responses to questions asked in Stats NZ's General Social Survey (GSS). The GSS was designed to measure the wellbeing of the New Zealand adult population.

Note that levels of wellbeing across different domains are not directly comparable with each other, as each domain is measured using different questions and definitions. This section provides context for the comparisons presented in other Our people sections.

Domain definitions

The table below shows how wellbeing is defined for each domain and sub-domain.

When a domain has more than one sub-domain:

  • a person has low wellbeing in that domain if they have low wellbeing for any of the sub-domains.
  • a person has high wellbeing in that domain if they have high wellbeing for all of the sub-domains.

In the case of the Safety and security domain, a person has low wellbeing if they have low wellbeing for more than one of the sub-domains.


Note: Due to lack of robust and comparable data, there are currently no measures for the Jobs, Time Use, or Environment domains.


Background to Our people


Our people describes the current wellbeing of New Zealanders aged 15 and over across the different LSF domains. Current wellbeing is defined as being Low, Medium or High for each person, for each domain, based on wellbeing in one or more sub-domains. Wellbeing in these sub-domains comes from questions asked in Stats NZ's GSS, which surveys around 8,000 people every two years.

Levels of wellbeing across different domains are not directly comparable, as they are based on different concepts, questions and definitions. The focus of the analysis presented in Our people is instead on comparing the wellbeing of different groups of New Zealanders with the rest of the population, and on exploring the ways in which wellbeing in one domain is associated with wellbeing in other domains.

Comparisons are presented according to the following population characteristics and for the following groups.

  • Age group- 15 to 34 years, 35 to 64 years, 65 years and over.
  • Ethnic group- Maori, Pacific, Asian, European. People can report multiple ethnic groups, and therefore be included in more than one group. Other ethnic groups are not reported as they are too small to give robust results
  • Family type- Couple with children, Couple without children, Sole parent, Not in a family nucleus.
  • Hours worked- Not employed, Working part-time, Working full-time, Working long hours.
  • Neighbourhood deprivation- NZ Deprivation index (NZDEP) quintiles.
  • Region- Auckland; Northland, Bay of Plenty, and Gisborne; Wellington; Rest of North Island; Canterbury, and Rest of South Island.
  • Sex- Male or female. Note: Owing to data limitations, alternative classifications are not available

Our people includes measures for nine out of the twelve LSF domains. No measures are currently included for the Jobs and earnings, Environment or Time use domains, either because the 2014 and 2016 GSS surveys do not collect this information, or because more development of the measures is required. We will attempt to develop these measures for future updates of the dashboard, as data allows. Where domains are included, they may not always capture the full underlying concept of wellbeing for that domain. Some domains are measured more robustly than others. Measures will be improved over time, as new data becomes available.

Children aged 14 and under are not currently directly represented in Our people as the General Social Survey does not survey children, and there are no alternative comprehensive sources of wellbeing data for New Zealand children.

For more information about the data and measures presented in Our people ,and for more detailed analysis, see Treasury Analytical Paper 18/04, Our people-Multidimensional wellbeing in New Zealand.

Disclaimer: Access to the data used in Our people was provided by Statistics New Zealand under conditions designed to give effect to the security and confidentiality provisions of the Statistics Act 1975. The results presented in this study are the work of the author, not Statistics NZ.

Introduction to Our country


Our country describes the current wellbeing of New Zealanders, using 38 indicators that measure the 12 current wellbeing domains. It emphasises national developments over time and with international comparisons, as well as distributional information for each indicator.
For more detail, please refer to: LSF Dashboard Quick Guide - Our country

Indicator Overview

Table of trends in wellbeing indicators.

Summarises how New Zealand as a whole is doing overtime in each indicator. The data are displayed in the form of sparkline graphs.

Explore Indicator overview

International comparison (OECD)

OECD comparison boxplot.

Shows where New Zealand sits for each indicator relative to other countries in the OECD, where internationally comparable data are available.

Explore International comparison (OECD)

New Zealand distribution

New Zealand distribution stacked column chart.

Shows the distribution within New Zealand for each indicator with data available.

Explore New Zealand distribution

New Zealand sub-group comparison

Population subgroup line graph.

Shows how groups within the New Zealand population (age, ethnicity, sex, family type, region) compare with each other and with New Zealand as a whole for each indicator where data are available.

Explore New Zealand sub-group comparison

Indicator overview

This page displays the range of wellbeing indictors for each of the domains of current wellbeing and summarises how New Zealand as a whole is doing overtime in each indicator.

If you would like to see more detail of the data, click on the sparkline graphs or check out the International Comparison (OECD), New Zealand distribution and New Zealand Sub-group Comparison pages.


Current Wellbeing in New Zealand


User Input

International comparison (OECD)

Sometimes, it's difficult to know how well we are doing, without making a comparison. Here, you can see where New Zealand sits relative to other countries in the OECD for each indicator (where internationally-comparable data are available).

Choose the domain of current wellbeing you are interested in from the drop-down box below to see all the indicators for that domain.

User Input

New Zealand distribution

For any given domain of wellbeing, some New Zealanders will be doing well, and some less so. Here, you can see the distribution within New Zealand for each indicator that has suitable data available.

Choose the domain of current wellbeing you are interested in from the drop-down box below to see all indicators for that domain.

User Input

New Zealand sub-group comparison

For any given domain of wellbeing, some groups of New Zealanders will be doing well and some less so. Here, you can divide the population into groups in different ways (age, ethnicity, sex, family type, region) to compare with each other and with New Zealand as a whole for each indicator (that has suitable data available).

Choose the domain of current wellbeing you are interested in from the Domain drop-down box below to see all indicators for that domain; and then choose the breakdown you would like to see from the Population focus drop-down box. You can add and remove lines from the plot by clicking on the line in the plot legend.

Background to Our country


Our country describes the current wellbeing of New Zealanders across the 12 domains of current wellbeing with 38 indicators. This section allows you to look at the current state, trends over time, distributions and international comparisons of each indicator. Data for these indicators come from a variety of sources including Stats NZ, OECD, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Ministry for the Environment and Ministry of Justice, as listed on each graph.

Population sub-group comparisons are presented according to the following population characteristics:

  • Age- various depending on different indicators. Children aged 14 and under are represented in some indicators
  • Ethnicity- European, Maori, Pacific, Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin American and African (MELAA) if applicable
  • Family type- Couple with children, Couple without children, Sole parent, Not in a family nucleus.
  • Region- various depending on different indicators.
  • Sex- Male or female. Note: Due to the data limitations, alternative classifications are not available.

For more information about the data and measures presented in Our country, and for more detailed analysis, see the LSF Background and Next Steps report.

Disclaimer Access to the data (where not already publically available) used in Our country was provided by Stats NZ under conditions designed to give effect to the security and confidentiality provisions of the Statistics Act 1975

Introduction to Our future


Our future describes the resources that underpin our ability to have great living standards in New Zealand in the future. They are important for the sustainability of the wellbeing of New Zealanders, and we have grouped them into four capitals: natural, social, human, and financial and physical. For each indicator of wellbeing, you can see the national value and an international (OECD) comparison over the last twenty years (where data is available).
For more detail, please refer to: LSF Dashboard Quick Guide - Our future

Natural capital

Natural capital line graphs.

All aspects of the natural environment needed to support life and human activity.

Explore Natural capital

Social capital

Social capital boxplots and line graphs.

The social connections, attitudes, norms and formal rules or institutions that contribute to societal wellbeing.

Explore Social capital

Human capital

Human capital boxplots and line graphs.

People's knowledge, physical and mental health-Human Capital enables people to fully participate in work, study, recreation, and society

Explore Human capital

Financial & Physical capital

Financial and physical capital boxplots and line graphs.

The country's physical, intangible and financial assets, which have a direct role in supporting incomes and material living conditions.

Explore Financial & Physical capital

Human capital

Human capital is an individual's skills, knowledge, mental and physical health that enable them to participate fully in work, study, recreation and in society more broadly.

People build their knowledge and skills through training (formally and informally) and their health through healthy habits, the use of health services and less controllable factors such as their income, houses and natural environment. It is important to note there can be structural barriers, or other circumstances, that may prevent people from acquiring as much Human capital as they otherwise might. Additionally, there can also be barriers to people's use of their Human capital.


Natural capital

Natural capital refers to all aspects of the natural environment needed to support life and human activity. It includes assets such as minerals, energy resources, soil, water and trees. It also includes the services that ecosystems provide that benefit people, such as provision of food and materials, clean air and nice views. Our wellbeing depends on the condition and extent of our natural capital and the capacity of that capital to generate services.

Different types of natural capital have different characteristic drivers. For example, some types of natural capital may be renewable (e.g. forests) while others are finite (e.g. oil and gas); some are localised (e.g. the unique landscapes of Fiordland National Park) while others are global in scale (e.g. an atmosphere that enables life). Likewise, different types of capital provide different types of services. We benefit from services in three broad categories: provisioning (wild food, timber); regulating (storm surge protection, flood mitigation, carbon absorption); cultural (recreation, sense of identity).


Financial & physical capital

The country's financial, intangible and physical assets have a direct role in supporting incomes and material living conditions.

Tangible fixed assets include factories, machines and equipment. Intangible fixed assets include knowledge-based capital created by research and development, software and databases, mineral exploration and evaluation. Financial assets include cash, both New Zealand dollars and foreign currency, and stocks and shares.


Social capital

Social capital includes the social connections, attitudes, norms and formal rules or institutions that contribute to societal wellbeing by promoting the resolution of collective action problems among people and groups in society.

The different elements of Social capital interact and can help reinforce each other. Pro-social norms encourage social connections. Institutions, both general (e.g. the court system) and more specific (e.g. the set of rules concerned with protecting privacy), play an important role in supporting the overarching social norms of fairness, tolerance of diversity and respectfulness.


Background to Our Future


Natural capital

Natural capital refers to all aspects of the natural environment needed to support life and human activity. It includes assets such as minerals, energy resources, soil, water and trees. It also includes the services that ecosystems provide that benefit people, such as provision of food and materials, clean air and nice views. Our wellbeing depends on the condition and extent of our natural capital and the capacity of that capital to generate services.

Different types of natural capital have different characteristic drivers. For example, some types of natural capital may be renewable (e.g. forests) while others are finite (e.g. oil and gas); some are localised (e.g. the unique landscapes of Fiordland National Park) while others are global in scale (e.g. an atmosphere that enables life). Likewise, different types of capital provide different types of services. We benefit from services in three broad categories: provisioning (wild food, timber); regulating (storm surge protection, flood mitigation, carbon absorption); cultural (recreation, sense of identity).

Six objective measures were chosen to provide information about ecosystem health and waste management. Ecosystem health has been defined using ecosystem service based indicators. Natural capital measurement is a developing area and is generally more complex and undefined than the other capitals. As a result, a more rigorous process for initial indicator selection was completed where international frameworks were considered.

Indicators were initially prioritised based on relationship to future wellbeing, investment required to develop the indicator, policy relevance, sensitivity to change and current investment. Further prioritisation was based on how informative the indicator is in telling a wellbeing story, how often it could be updated and data availability. Indicators of ecosystem health included are sustainable food production, drinking water quality, biodiversity, climate regulation and natural hazard regulation.

Sustainable food production requires fertile and healthy soil, therefore, soil quality is used to indicate the sustainability of food production. Good quality soil is not the only input that is required for sustainable food production, and healthy soil has far less influence on livestock. However, generally speaking, falling soil quality can indicate unsustainable management practices, such as over-processing of the land or overuse of pesticides.

Drinking water quality is captured by the proportion of the population served with drinking water that meets standards. This indicator captures the service provided in delivering safe drinking water and it indicates water quality at water sources after treatment.

The ability of the ecosystem to support biodiversity reflects its condition. The indicator used to measure biodiversity, is the number of threatened species in New Zealand. Species can be threatened for numerous reasons, but habitat loss and introduction of predators or invasive species are a common cause. Additionally, a diverse range of plants and animals would be expected in a healthy ecosystem. Owing to limited data availability, only information about the number of species under the Ecosystem Managed Systems framework has been included in this indicator.

Natural hazard regulation is the service natural capital provides in protecting against natural hazards, such as regulating water flow (flooding) and removing pollution. There are many services provided by natural capital to protect us from hazards. Owing to data limitations only protection from storm surges and flooding is captured. To measure this, the change in the extent of land that mitigates against storm surges and floods (wetland) is included. A decrease in wetland area results in reduced capacity for the natural environment to protect against storm surges and flooding.

Further regulation provided by natural capital is provision of breathable air through carbon sequestration, the process of trees and vegetation removing carbon from the air and releasing oxygen. The amount of carbon stored in forest and soil biomass indicates the health and size of New Zealand's forest and soil. Healthy trees and plants sequester more carbon from the atmosphere resulting in more oxygen, whereas damaged, unhealthy vegetation and soil release carbon into the atmosphere. If carbon stock is falling, this is a sign that the extent or condition of forest and soils in New Zealand is degrading.

Waste management provides an indicator of future risk to New Zealand's natural capital. Higher waste rates (kilograms of waste produced per person) signal less efficient use of resources and a possible threat to the environment when the waste is disposed.


Social capital

Social capital includes the social connections, attitudes, norms and formal rules or institutions that contribute to societal wellbeing by promoting the resolution of collective action problems among people and groups in society.

The different elements of social capital interact and can help reinforce each other. Pro-social norms encourage social connections. Institutions, both general (e.g. the court system) and more specific (e.g. the set of rules concerned with protecting privacy), play an important role in supporting the overarching social norms of fairness, tolerance of diversity and respectfulness.

Government policies influence the growth and decline of social capital through their care and maintenance of New Zealand's formal institutions, and their effects on income equality, poverty, housing mobility and ownership rates, family and whanau wellbeing, the construction of the built environment and educational outcomes.

Social capital directly relates to social connection and civic engagement and governance, in the current domains of wellbeing, therefore relevant indicators in these domains are included to also provide an intergenerational perspective.


Human capital

Human capital is an individual's skills, knowledge, mental and physical health that enable them to participate fully in work, study, recreation and in society more broadly. People build their knowledge and skills through training (formally and informally) and their health through healthy habits, the use of health services and less controllable factors such as their income, houses and natural environment. It is important to note there can be structural barriers, or other circumstances, that may prevent people from acquiring as much human capital as they otherwise might. Additionally, there can also be barriers to people's use of their Human capital.

New Zealand's connections with other countries builds Human capital through flows of ideas, expertise and people. When people migrate to New Zealand they increase our total stock of Human capital (and the per-capita stock will increase if they have more than New Zealand's current average-and vice-versa). When people leave New Zealand our total stock of Human capital decreases.

As with the current wellbeing domain of knowledge and skills, educational attainment provides a proxy measure of the average skill level of the adult population in New Zealand. Both upper secondary and Bachelor degree or higher educational attainment are included as indicators. Attainment of upper secondary education is a widely used measure to compare internationally and provides a proxy for various types of further education, such as apprenticeships, as it measures how the system has built capability for further study. Average PISA scores of 15-year-olds provide an indication of future cognitive skills embodied in young people who have not yet entered the labour force. Expected educational attainment further incorporates a future-looking indicator and provides information about the number of years in education that a child aged 5 can undertake.

Life expectancy at birth estimates the average time a person has to accumulate and apply these skills. A person's health, however, provides an indication of one's ability to obtain human capital and contribute to society. Non-communicable diseases, also known as chronic diseases, are often good predictors of future health. Non-communicable diseases, particularly the common types such as cardiovascular diseases, cancers, respiratory diseases and diabetes, tend to be of long duration and can cause a range of ongoing complications that can affect one's physical and mental health.


Financial and physical capital

The country's financial, intangible and physical assets have a direct role in supporting incomes and material living conditions. Tangible fixed assets include factories, machines and equipment. Intangible fixed assets include knowledge-based capital created by research and development, software and databases, mineral exploration and evaluation. Financial assets include cash, both New Zealand dollars and foreign currency, and stocks and shares.

Financial and physical capital can be accumulated by saving some income. Households own most of the net wealth of the economy and financial assets of households provide resilience to unexpected life events as well as income for retirement.

Changes in productivity can also be considered within financial and physical capital. For example, growth in multifactor productivity (MFP) reflects improvements in the ways in which both labour and fixed assets are being combined to generate goods and services.

The Government's own fixed assets in the form of schools, roads, and hospitals help deliver public services and support the private capital stock in generating goods and services. The Government's overall net worth provides a buffer to the economic cycle and shocks such as natural disasters.

Financial and physical capital is linked to the rest of the world and is increased through global economic institutions, trade agreements, and other connections that improve productivity and enable New Zealand to earn more from exporting and investment. The net international investment position indicates the degree to which New Zealand has a claim over other countries'capital stocks or other countries have a claim on New Zealand capital stocks.

Key terms used in the dashboard

About the dashboard


The Living Standards Framework Dashboard (LSF Dashboard) was developed by the New Zealand Treasury with the help of Harmonic Analytics Limited, using data from various sources. All information shown in the LSF Dashboard is anonymous.

This work is part of the Treasury's commitment to higher living standards and a more prosperous, inclusive New Zealand. The LSF Dashboard was designed to inform effective policies and services through better information. The LSF Dashboard currently presents information about population wellbeing in New Zealand, and information about the various aspects that affect current and future wellbeing.

For more detailed information about the LSF Dashboard the data behind it see The Living Standards Framework: Background and future work report or contact the Office of the Chief Economic Advisor (OCEA) team at cea@treasury.govt.nz .


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The New Zealand Treasury created the LSF Dashboard with the help of Harmonic Analytics, using data from various sources.


The LSF Dashboard was developed to inform evidence based policy and practice, supporting:
  • The Treasury's strategic priorities by undertaking relevant research and analysis
  • The provision of insights into the wellbeing of all New Zealanders

  • Office of the Chief Economic Advisor (OCEA) - The Treasury

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