Abstract There is widespread discontent with the gross domestic product (GDP) as a measure of progress for society. Alternative measures have been proposed, including the genuine progress indicator (GPI). This paper examines the changing institutional
arrangements and attitudinal context in the recently developed Wellington region (New Zealand) GPI. We found an alignment between the GPI framework and the Local Government Act. Despite this fit, we identified challenges, including the need to revitalise public participation through deliberative
techniques. It remains too early to judge whether the GPI initiative will launch a viable alternative to the GDP for the Wellington region.