New Zealand’s ‘wellbeing budget’ made headlines, but what really changed?

New Zealand’s ‘wellbeing budget’ made headlines, but what really changed?

The Guardian

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Two years ago Jacinda Arden’s government committed to a new mental health strategy, now the world wants to know has it worked

It was September 2017, and shoes were strewn over the well-manicured lawns of New Zealand’s parliament. A pair of red stilettos pressed an imprint into the dirt, some trainers nestled in the velvet grass. Six hundred and six pairs of empty shoes – each pair representing a New Zealander lost to suicide, the culmination of a campaign demanding government action on the mental health crisis.

Addressing the crowd, Jacinda Ardern, then-leader of the opposition, had tears in her eyes. Arden spoke boldly, committing to a zero goal for suicide: “anything other than zero … suggests we have a tolerance”. Her comments registered as a fresh approach: a politician simultaneously setting the kind of firm target governments tended to avoid, and speaking movingly of the losses she’d personally witnessed.

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