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Impacts of Security Risks Conference in Wellington

Impacts of Security Risks Conference in Wellington

Announcement by the Royal Society of New Zealand

Friday 20 October 2005

The management and impacts of security risks such as bird flu, didymo (rock snot) or internet hazards will come under the spotlight at the Royal Society of New Zealand Conference, Science and Security - informing New Zealand, in Wellington on Thursday 17 November.

"One of things that has occurred since September 11 is an increased awareness of terrorism," said conference organising committee chair Professor Brian Robinson. "But as far as we're concerned that is a minor concern for this country - a flu pandemic is a much more major risk. A bird flu epidemic, or something similar, could completely alter the lifestyle of us all, and the way in which we handle such a threat could be very important economically."

Other particularly high risks for New Zealand include earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, Professor Robinson added. "If there's a major volcanic eruption 50-100 people might die, but you also won't have any agriculture in that area for about three years. That's where you need the science - and the social science side of handling these threats is non-existent in this country."

The day-long conference will consider the broader concepts of security and provide a platform for ongoing discussion and improved decision-making. It will focus on how to quantify risk, compare between risks, and mitigate against all national security issues.

ENDS

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