The Treasury hit headlines a month or two back when considering ‘sun and moon feelings’. While sun and moon feelings did not meet our criteria in when developing the Infometrics regional wellbeing framework, we thought it would be fun to shine a light on sunshine hours to see what area came up trumps.
Average sunshine hours are an interesting indicator, as it sometimes conflicts with other measures of wellbeing. On average over 1972-2013, Ōpōtiki had the 9th highest average sunshine hours each year (see Graph 1), but also claims the highest crime rate, and recently, the highest rate of homicide.
The top of the South Island is the sunniest part of New Zealand, with Nelson, Marlborough, and Tasman all featuring in the top 10 areas.
Sunshine might well make for better wellbeing, and a happier life, but it’s also unchangeable. No decision maker can influence the number of sunshine hours, so measuring it to inform decisions makers and local communities is unhelpful.
Seems like Treasury might be best to stick to the economics and leave monitoring sun and moon feelings well alone.
Data credit: NZ Herald and Ministry for the Environment
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