These Waikato Progress Indicators (WPI) measure our societal and environmental progress in the Waikato region, as well as growth in our regional economy. In the past, measures of progress have focused too much on the financial aspects of life only - and not enough on the quality of life for everyone. That key measure has been Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which has been used by the vast majority of countries around the world, including New Zealand.
However, measuring where the money is only tells us about our economic activity and growth. It doesn’t help us to find out how well people and communities are doing in terms of wellbeing or quality of life – or what they think and feel about where and how they’re living. If we truly want to measure progress and success, we need broaden our focus to include a range of economic, social and environmental measures which together, tell a more complete story.
We need to clearly identify which aspects we are doing well in; where we need to improve; and how changes in one aspect are linked with or affected by changes in others. We also want to find out how we compare with other regions within New Zealand; and contribute to providing a more accurate ‘national picture’ for our country for comparison with others overseas.
The good news is that this type of monitoring and measurement is beginning to happen at New Zealand Government level and in international programmes overseas; and now as part of the Waikato Progress Indicators (WPI) monitoring project. We have summarised the WPI information we have gathered into an overall score card; a report card for each individual indicator; and into ‘circles of wellbeing’ diagrams. This information will be regularly updated as we continue to track our progress and identify trends in the future. The number of indicators being tracked will also increase to more measures of wellbeing and quality of life as these are identified.
Our progress at a glance
The WPI scorecard (left) shows our region’s progress at a glance, displaying the improving or worsening trends for each of the indicators. The 32 indicators are grouped by ‘theme’ - economic, environmental and social. Click on the scorecard to view it as a full page.
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|Regional GDP||Life satisfaction||Educational attainment||Housing affordability|
|Perceptions of safety||Crime||Road safety||Life expectancy|
|Perceived health||Social connectedness||Community pride||Physical activity|
|Cultural respect||Te Reo Māori speakers||Voter turnout||Community engagement|
|Income||Income inequality||Building activity||Employment|
|Public transport||Water use||Environmental attitudes||River water quality|
|Soil quality||Rural subdivision||Air quality||Greenhouse gases|
|Indigenous vegetation||Coastal habitats||Waste||Recycling|
Use our ‘circles of wellbeing’ to check our progress for the Waikato region – and also compare our progress on some Waikato Progress Indicators (WPI) with similar ones measured for New Zealand. The WPI ‘circles of wellbeing’ are a new approach to illustrating progress in the Waikato region that capture information about many indicators in a single diagram.
WPI indicator trends 2006-2008 to 2012-13, Waikato region. Comparison Waikato region versus New Zealand (selected indicators only).
This information will be regularly updated as we continue to track our progress and identify trends in the future. The Waikato Progress Indicators (WPI) monitoring programme covers the period 2001 to 2014/15 with a particular focus on the years since 2006/07. Note that the period 2006-2008 doesn’t represent an ‘average’ year, as it occurred at the end of an economic boom and just before the Global Financial Crisis. However, information from 2007 onwards is more robust and as the WPI monitoring programme continues it will provide an increasingly accurate signal of long term regional progress over time. Further research by Waikato Regional Council and its partners will also enable an increased focus on Mātauranga Māori and toha (indigenous knowledge and indicators) to be included into this work. The number of indicators being tracked will also increase to more measures of wellbeing and quality of life as these are identified.