Charting risk governance trends in New Zealand

6881 gns science

8 October 2020

How can we chart the future by unpacking what has influenced us to date?

By Prof Iain White

There’s a lot of research looking at how individuals perceive and respond to natural hazard and climate risks and how this changes in response to signals, we wanted to do the same for a country. So how does a nation change its perception of natural hazard risks over long time periods? How do they respond to new concepts, science and international signals? What legacies do previous eras and approaches exert when trying to govern climate change?

We identify five different ‘riskscape’ eras in New Zealand using a historical timeline, which have changed as global risks cascade into national and sub-national governance. We show how each still exerts an influence in the current period. We see the lags and tensions in trying to incorporate new science and ideas about the complex nature of risk into established territories, policies, and governance systems.
Figure 5
We find that while there has been a major effort to reflect the dynamic and systemic language of risk theory in national policy, a significant challenge remains to develop appropriate governance and implementation strategies and to shift from long-held ways of doing and knowing.

The full article by Prof Iain White and Dr Judy Lawrence, ‘Continuity and change in national riskscapes: a New Zealand perspective on the challenges for climate governance theory and practice’ was published in the Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society and can be found here.

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