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Survey provides invaluable insights for Vision 2050 Project

16 November 2011

Survey provides invaluable insights for Vision 2050 Project

A ShapeNZ survey for NZBCSD’s Vision 2050 Project has provided invaluable insights about New Zealanders’ hopes and expectations for life in the year 2050 – insights which will guide the Project’s ongoing work to map future economic, environmental and social pathways.

The three most important things Kiwis said they need in order to live well in the future are a clean environment, a safe place to live, and a good public health system; they hope New Zealand in 2050 will be a thriving and innovative country with a happy, satisfied and diverse population which has pride in their country.

Vision 2050 is a major research project by the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development (NZBCSD) to identify business opportunities and consider how New Zealand’s projected population of seven million can live well, and within the planet’s resources, in 2050.

The ShapeNZ poll of nearly 1,500 New Zealanders was commissioned by Vision 2050 and the results published ahead of key business meetings in Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch where the Project team is outlining progress towards its major report release in December.

Vision 2050 Project Manager, KPMG director Jamie Sinclair, says the ShapeNZ findings provide some of the project’s crucial building blocks.

“We have worked with key figures in the business community and a group of 30 Future Leaders to develop our framework, but we needed to hear from a cross section of Kiwis about their aspirations for the future, and what really matters to them.

“It is interesting that fewer than a quarter of New Zealanders know our population is likely to grow to about seven million in 2050. The survey highlighted also some curious paradoxes which show that New Zealanders are unrealistic about the real cost of true sustainability.”

Jamie Sinclair says the challenge for business and various forms of government is to identify innovative ways which will ensure New Zealand remains internationally competitive, for the country to be prosperous, but also 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 the meetings this week, and the report next month, are designed to be just the start of an ongoing engagement with New Zealand business in mapping the journey towards 2050.

Selected highlights from the Vision 2050 survey by ShapeNZ[1]

• As a result of the dramatic population increase:
o 81.9% of respondents thought traffic congestion would be worse or not good enough to cope
o 56.2% believed our fresh water supply would be worse or not good enough to cope

• When asked to rate the importance of New Zealand’s natural environment to the decision to live in New Zealand, 85.3% rated it as important or very important – only 1.3% said it wasn’t important

• Given that a clean environment is the number one factor to live well in the future, when looking at transport factors, Kiwis seem to have double standards – it was more important to have affordable travel (88.8%) and safe/reliable transport (87.7%) than it was to have renewable transport fuel sources (82.3%) or transport with zero emissions or pollution (69%). This suggests Kiwis are not willing to pay to have the things that are most important to them.

• When asked to rate New Zealand, Kiwis’ biggest issue was housing affordability with 56.1% saying it was either poor or very poor. Yet this contrasts significantly with the most important things needed to live well in the future, as affordable housing was only rated 11th out of 26 factors.

• Following closely behind was income (in)equality with 53.4% saying income equality was poor or very poor. Again this contrasts with the living well factors, with high incomes 9th and rising household incomes 15th.

• The biggest influence on people’s decision if they left New Zealand permanently would be:

1. work opportunities
2. income
3. cost of living.

About Vision 2050

The Vision 2050 Project one of the most important research projects by the NZBCSD in the past 12 years. It involves companies working together to develop a road map towards a New Zealand in 2050 which has about eight million people living well within the constraints of the planet.

The project will explore what the critical changes for business will be and propose what parts business, government, society will lead and what parts will require a collaborative approach. The intention is to create the pathway from our current position to our desired future state

A full report Vision 2050 report will be published in December.

[1] 1,471 respondents weighted to represent the New Zealand population, with a margin for error of 2.6 per cent at a 95 per cent confidence level.


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