GPI accounting in New Zealand

When it comes to accounting for the financial and economic participation of rōpū tikanga Māori in New Zealand’s mixed market economy, a genuine progress indicator (GPI) provides a more satisfactory approach to wellbeing measurement. Business accounting and economic estimates of GDP are incomplete approaches to business and economic performance measurement  because they fail to account for the social, ecological and financial costs of growth.

This dynamic GPI report was published in 2013 and describes the results of research that has attempted to create a spatially specific, dynamic genuine progress indicator accounting model for the Nelson Tasman regions and Motueka catchment of New Zealand. It outlines the context in which this model building activity emerged and the developmental process followed along with a detailed technical and theoretical description of the accounting model created.

This model building activity responds to an urgent need that currently exists for the creation of accounting tools that can be used to make more publicly visible the ecological, social and financial costs associated with our modern, market economic, growth oriented way of life. Without accounting information of this kind it will be very difficult to manage our communities toward long term economic, ecological, cultural and social wellbeing outcomes.

As any good business accountant knows, sound financial records (i.e. book keeping), the creation of regular statements of financial performance (i.e. accounting) and the regular verification of financial records (i.e. auditing) form an essential basis for profitable business management and decision-making.

By comparison, the development of our communities towards socially fair, ecologically sustainable, economically sound and culturally diverse futures is a far more complex management problem. Yet we currently lack the accounting tools and systems needed to accomplish this task. Thus, an urgent need exists for the creation of new accounting methods and tools for use in this area. The research on which this report is based has attempted to respond to this urgent need. Even so, it is still an incomplete accounting solution when it comes to achieving the goal of Māori cultural survival. For this reason, we are currently involved in an MBIE funded research programme that seeks to create New Zealand’s very first Māori cultural genuine progress indicator accounting system. We will provide more information on this project in future blog posts.

Click on the following link to download this report:

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