The road ahead
A global forecast of life with nine billion people on earth has been refined to show what life will be like in New Zealand.
There will be more than six million people living on these islands in 2050. That was something known by less than a quarter of those polled as part of the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development’s Vision 2050 project.
Project director Jamie Sinclair from KPMG says the Shapenz survey plus the work with key business leaders and a 30-strong group of 30-something “future leaders” has given a New Zealand flavour to a global project coordinated by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.
Similar projects in 30 countries are trying to map future economic, environmental and social pathways so that by 2050 some nine billion people can live well and within the limits of the planet.
The survey of 1500 Kiwis found they want a clean environment, a safe place to live, and a good public health system in their future.
They’re just not sure how they will get there, and at times they have contradictory impulses. So while 85 per cent said the natural environment was an important part of why they lived in New Zealand, affordable travel rated higher than having renewable or emission-free transport fuel.
Work and career opportunities, income and cost of living were the main reasons people felt they might leave the country at some time.
“Business as usual will not cut it. If we want people to stay, we have to create opportunities,” Sinclair says.
His team identified 11 pathways New Zealand should pursue, including agriculture, forestry and marine, tourism, technology, power and energy, and human development, which includes education and health. “The challenge is to get past people saying it’s too hard, there’s too much to do,” he says. “When you lift your sights you say ‘if you want this future, what will it mean?’”
Business as well as the various agencies of Government need to identify ways for New Zealand to be internationally competitive and prosperous while living within constrained resources.
“One of Vision 2050’s key goals is to identify the opportunities based on clean technology and sustainable resource use which New Zealand can embrace with the right thinking and buy-in from industry,” he says.
New Zealand’s economy is not delivering competitive returns for the capital employed, and the country is experiencing increasing income inequality and child poverty.
That points to a society failing some of its most
New Zealand’s economy is not delivering competitive returns for the capital employed, and the country is experiencing
increasing income inequality and child poverty.
Whether it’s child abuse or rocketing youth unemployment, the seeds are being sown now for problems.
Sinclair says Vision 2050 sees a need to develop the skilled workers who can move New Zealand from its reliance on commodity products in key sectors such as forestry and agriculture, which creates significant pressure on the natural environment.
“The key thing is we can’t look at things in isolation. We can’t consider a marine or agriculture strategy without considering our approach to energy or to human development,” he says. “As a country we need honest discussions on our future.”
He says the election campaign just gone was disappointing because of the lack of such vision exhibited by the politicians.
It may be up to the rest of us to do it.