Wellington regional indicators rising but a mixed bag
Small but steady progress has been made in the overall wellbeing of the Wellington Region according to 13 years of measurements included in the Wellington Genuine Progress Index (WR-GPI).
The index measures positive and negative changes across a range of economic, environmental, social and cultural indicators and was established after public feedback supported the importance of quality of life and suggested that economic growth should not be pursued at the expense of the community or the environment.
Since monitoring began in 2001, the index has risen 3.4% despite variable trends in some areas. The economic outlook suffered during the Global Financial Crisis but picked up in the last couple of years, bolstered by Wellington’s traditional strengths in education outcomes and labour force participation.
Environmental wellbeing also improved recently, after a dip around 2010-11. In contrast, cultural wellbeing has shown a downward trend, driven by drops in indicators including voter turnout and the percentage of the population with Maori language capability. Social wellbeing had only marginal improvement, with factors such as increased access to the internet and active travel modes counterbalanced by traffic congestion, higher levels of personal stress and increased number of people living in deprivation.
“The GPI is useful in measuring many changes, enabling the region to hone in on negative trends that need more attention. Obviously the longer the time-series the better, but even now we are able to put together a valuable picture of the state of the region,” says Richie Singleton, economic advisor in the Wellington Regional Strategy Office.
Wellington is one of several regions around the world using GPI as an additional measurement tool and Statistics New Zealand is encouraging this work. Other agencies with an interest include District Health Boards. The report and more information about the project is available at: www.gpiwellingtonregion.govt.nz.