New Zealand's 1st 'well-being budget' targets mental health

May 29, 2019 - 7:32 pm

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand's government says it will spend billions of dollars more on mental health services and combatting child poverty as part of a new approach to its finances.

The liberal-led government on Thursday unveiled the country's first so-called well-being budget. It aims to measure social outcomes like health and the environment alongside traditional metrics such as economic growth.

The new approach has been lauded by some internationally but criticized by the conservative opposition as meaningless window-dressing.

The budget was the first since a gunman killed 51 people at two Christchurch mosques in March, and it included money for a gun buyback scheme after the government introduced new laws banning the types of semi-automatic weapons often used in mass shootings.

The budget also increased funding for the nation's intelligence agencies.