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Treasury’s Living Standards Framework – is growing the four capitals a good thing?

The Treasury’s much vaunted Living Standards Framework (LSF) asserts that raising living standards requires increasing New Zealand’s four capitals, human, natural, social and financial/physical.

So here is a question for the framework’s promoters in Treasury:

“Suppose a policy proposal promises to increase all four capitals, how would a Treasury analyst determine if the proposal was a good thing?”

The ‘obvious’ answer is: “By applying Treasury’s Guide to Social Cost Benefit analysis”.  After all, why else does the guide exist?

Yet, if this is Treasury’s answer, what value does the LSF add?

Alternatively, if Treasury thinks its guide is flawed, why does it not fix the flaws and make it fit for purpose?

It would be really helpful if Treasury could clarify such matters.


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