The title of this year’s report is Off the Track. It draws on the picture of the tramping tracks so familiar to many Kiwis. Walking these tracks requires frequent checking of maps and track markers to ensure the trail is not lost. Failure to do so in the New Zealand bush can carry significant and sometimes tragic consequences.
In the context of this report, ‘off the track’ reflects a sense that many of the markers routinely analysed for the State of the Nation report currently suggest we are not heading in the best direction for New Zealand as a whole.
There are some undeniably positive signs, such as rising employment and wage growth, reduction in youth offending and a falling teenage pregnancy rate. However, in some of our most critical areas the nation appears to have stalled or even gone backwards.