Just a wireframe: Statistics NZ’s wellbeing framework

The crowded wellbeing space just got a little bit more crowded, with the release of Statistics NZ’s hotly anticipated Indicators Aotearoa dashboard. The dashboard was supposed to provide more than one hundred indicators of wellbeing, but instead we have been delivered a wireframe – filled with placeholders and patchy actual data.

I am disappointed by what has been released, which appears to have been a box ticking exercise to meet a 30 June delivery deadline ahead of the end of the fiscal year. But wouldn’t the reputational effects of pushing out delivery by a couple of months be better than taking an unfinished product to market?

At least Statistics NZ’s communications team came clean in their media release and acknowledged the product isn’t up to scratch. And trust me, this isn’t a spoof.

“The initial set of indicators includes gaps in data and limitations in the ability to break the data down to levels that are meaningful to different communities,” said the Statistics NZ’s media release.

“Knowing where the data gaps are within the indicators helps us understand where more effort is needed to measure what matters,” added the Minister of Statistics James Shaw.

But perhaps the biggest joke of all was the final comment of the release.

“The indicators will be useful for local and regional councils, and for all New Zealanders to better understand New Zealand’s progress, wellbeing, and sustainable development,” Ms MacPherson said.

Seriously?! Did our (soon to be former) Chief Statistician even look at the framework before that comment was signed off? No wonder she has since resigned.

One look at Indicators Aotearoa suggests that, as it currently stands, the framework contains ZERO datasets broken down to a local council (territorial authority) level.

What an insult to the hardworking folk in local government, who are urgently trying to gather an evidence-base to uphold their statutory requirements in the amended Local Government Act to take social, economic, environmental and cultural wellbeing into consideration during decision-making processes.

Perhaps the word “will” in Ms MacPherson’s quote should have been bolded to emphasise the future tense in which she was speaking.

I guess that is all we can hope for.

I won’t let this one go and will update readers when useful progress has been made.

For those of you that can’t wait, here is a link to Statistics NZ’s media release and the dashboard.