New Zealand is committed to playing its part at home and abroad to advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
He waka eke noa - ‘we are all in this together’ – is a Māori proverb and the title to our first VNR reflecting the government’s policy of ‘leaving no one behind’.
New Zealand’s first Voluntary National Review (VNR) covers all 17 SDGs with a focus on how we deliver outcomes most relevant to New Zealand. The VNR outlines New Zealand’s approach to the SDGs and reflects our commitment to productive, sustainable and inclusive economic development. The report highlights challenges as well as successes, and identifies areas where further work is needed.
The VNR reflects the New Zealand context. The special status of Māori as the tangata whenua, indigenous people of New Zealand, is of profound importance and fundamental to our national identity. The VNR incorporates the concept of kaitiakitanga, or guardianship, of our natural environment.
New thinking is required to achieve the vision encapsulated in the SDGs. Rather than measuring progress in purely economic terms. New Zealand is developing a broader set of measures - theLiving Standards Framework (LSF) - that puts sustainable intergenerational wellbeing at the centre of policy-making and the management of our resources. The LSF is an innovative framework for measuring and analysing the dynamics of wellbeing, as well as risk and resilience across a broad range of economic, social and environmental domains.
In parallel, Statistics New Zealand has developed a new set of metrics - Indicators Aotearoa New Zealand (IANZ). Like the LSF, IANZ goes beyond traditional economic measures such as income and GDP, and includes wellbeing and sustainable development. IANZ will support the LSF, as well as monitoring and reporting against the SDGs.
Notwithstanding New Zealand’s overall high standard of living, a proportion of New Zealand households experience poverty or material hardship. We acknowledge that certain groups are over-represented, and we are working to grow and share New Zealand’s prosperity more fairly.
Reducing child poverty is a particular focus. New laws introduced in 2018 create an on-going focus on child poverty reduction and provide for political accountability for achieving published targets. The government’s ten-year targets aim to reduce child poverty by more than half on both low-income and material hardship measures by 2028. The government has put in place a range of measures, including the 2017 Families Package, which has boosted the incomes of low income families. A wide range of initiatives are underway to improve child and youth wellbeing.
New Zealand supports the SDGs alongside our international partners. In 2018 New Zealand increased its Official Development Assistance (ODA) in response to the 2030 Agenda and the sustainable development finance needs of developing countries. The additional NZ$714 million allocated over four years represents a 30 percent increase in our ODA, lifting it to a projected 0.28 percent of GNI.
New Zealand’s ODA targets countries most in need, in particular small island developing states and Least Developed Countries, with sustainable development a core priority. Sixty percent of New Zealand’s ODA goes to the Pacific region with a strong focus on improving prosperity and economic resilience. Sustainable development also informs our approach to trade, the environment and security.
The SDGs are interrelated and cannot be achieved by governments alone. It requires a holistic approach and the participation of all sectors of society. The VNR highlights some of the important work being undertaken across New Zealand and overseas by New Zealand individuals, businesses and community groups to achieve the SDGs.
We recognise the contributions made to the VNR by multiple stakeholders, including from non-government sectors. Consultation with NGOs was undertaken by a range of relevant government agencies. Comment on the VNR was sought from a stakeholder reference group. Wider public feedback was sought through an online process.