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.

Element - - Finance - By Adam Gif­ford

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.

vul­ner­a­ble cit­i­zens.

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.

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