Citizens First Is A First?

June 16, 2019

What is the role of a government? To make sure that a country is running properly and perhaps even more importantly, to take care of its citizens. So why is it big news when a country decides that a significant portion of its budget should be focused on the well-being of its citizens? It’s because budgets are complicated and countries don’t have an unlimited amount of money to spend on everything they need. Country leaders must make tough choices and prioritize how much money goes where. For example, some countries may choose to spend more money on protecting its citizens and less on education, whereas others may feel the need to spend more money on infrastructure and less on the environment. Unfortunately, these are choices every government has to make.

Governor-General New Zealand [CC BY 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)]
Earlier this month, the Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern announced that her administration will prioritize its annual budget and focus on the well-being of its citizens over economic growth and other areas. Billions will be allocated to support services such as improving mental health services that will improve the overall well-being of its citizens. Seems like a refreshing way for a government to allocate funds, doesn’t it? Not so fast. Some people oppose Prime Minister Ardern’s budget, arguing that her budget neglects New Zealand’s slowing economy. What will citizens do if there is no money for these services? Didn’t we say budgets were complicated?

If you were given the opportunity to plan out a budget for your country, what would you prioritize?