Paper outlines national environmental strategy

No regrets strategies, they say, would allow New Zealand to take advantage of, or respond to, expected changes in ways that realise benefits or have only low costs if changes do not occur as anticipated.

Such strategies should include growing high-value agri-food based exports, developing more technologically advanced economy and growing the green economy.

They should also cover improving resource use efficiency, resolving emissions issues and preparing to adapt to climate change.

Protecting and restoring the environment, and developing an environmentally informed population and migration strategy may also form part of this approach.

Mini-max strategies would protect against catastrophes by minimising the maximum loss.

“Such strategies should be prepared in case there are more catastrophic outcomes. They include ensuring supply chain security for critical inputs, selectively investing in self-sufficiency for essential technologies and other inputs, and reviewing security and foreign policies,” says the report.

Boven, Harland and Grace also advocate developing New Zealand’s capability to manage and adapt to expected and uncertain environment futures.

“New Zealand should establish futures-focused institution, build organisation capabilities to anticipate, navigate and respond to unexpected eventualities, broaden economic performance metrics, pursue institutional innovation and build public understanding.”

The report says the implications of global environmental trends for New Zealand mean that national strategy should anticipate future that is different from the past.

The team started the project when employed by the New Zealand Institute and completed it after the organisation merged with the Business Roundtable to form the New Zealand Initiative.

Rick Boven and Lillian Grace are respectively director and associate of Stakeholder Strategies. Catherine Harland is research fellow with The New Zealand Initiative.

A one hour film of the project can be found at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXYCJ4cE-sw

Also see Executive Update article “What’s stopping NZ reducing environmental damage?”. 

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