Motu Note #21

The Material Wellbeing of New Zealand Households

Note overview

flickr 4484341884 df75444405 oA new measure of material wellbeing based on actual household consumption rather than on their incomes, shows that New Zealand households have amongst the highest material living standards in the world. Using country averages for households that include a fifteen-year-old child, New Zealand had the third highest material living standards in the world in 2012. This follows fourth and second placings in 2000 and 2009, respectively.

New Zealand’s degree of inequality in household material wellbeing, however, ranked twentieth of forty countries in 2012, with inequality levels similar to those in the USA, Canada and Great Britain. Australia’s households are not quite as wealthy as their New Zealand counterparts but inequality in Australia is lower than that in New Zealand.


Marsden Fund of the Royal Society of New Zealand