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Sustainability analysis of New Zealand

Roberts, Lillian
Fields of Research
ANZSRC::169999 Studies in Human Society not elsewhere classified , ANZSRC::1205 Urban and Regional Planning , ANZSRC::120501 Community Planning , ANZSRC::160507 Environment Policy
Commissioned background paper for the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment"s Review of New Zealand Progress to Sustainable Development. This article provides an overview of sustainability in New Zealand, covering where we are now, what a sustainable New Zealand would look like, and the steps we need to take to get there. It then discusses how this overview could be the basis for a future process to develop a national consensus and enthusiastic backing for a common vision of a sustainable future. It uses the science-based systems framework developed by The Natural Step 1 to: A: define the conditions for a sustainable society; B: assess New Zealand"s current national sustainability by assessing it against the system conditions; C: develop a vision of what NZ society could look like at some time in the future when it was functioning in accordance with the sustainability conditions; and D: by backcasting from the desired future condition to our present situation, set out some of the key steps we need to start taking now, as a society, and some criteria to use to assess proposed actions. Within the time frame and resources available for this project, the overview is necessarily reasonably broad brush, but it yields important signposts to the key areas of vulnerability and opportunity for New Zealand as nation.