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Published: 2005-03-04 00:00:00

A variety of Waikato groups and businesses have been invited to attend a workshop in Hamilton this week to discuss sustainable futures for the Region.

The Sustainable Futures workshop is jointly hosted by Environment Waikato, Landcare Research, AgResearch, NIWA and the New Zealand Centre for Ecological Economics at the Narrows Landing on March 10.

Environment Waikato Chief Executive Harry Wilson said the future well-being of communities depended on decisions made today.

“Researchers are currently developing tools to look into the future so that various growth and development scenarios can be explored, trade-offs clearly identified, and more intelligent and informed choices made. This requires expertise and knowledge from different disciplines working together and making links between environmental, social and economic data and information.”

He said it was most important to involve people and groups which make decisions for future development and growth – councils and their communities, businesses, industry sectors, land owners and government agencies.

Representatives of organisations including local councils, large industries such as Carter Holt Harvey and Fonterra, district councils, Federated Farmers, Maori trusts, Tourism Waikato, Waikato Health Board and DoC have been invited to listen and contribute to an afternoon of presentations and discussions.

Mr Wilson said the session was not a technical workshop, but it was looking for strategic thinkers who knew their organisation’s business and how this connects to the Region’s future.
The workshop would also focus on “scenario analysis” – stories of possible futures that the communities might encounter and what the future might look like under different circumstances.

He said scenario-based planning could be an important tool and framework for strategic thinking, allowing people to consider a range of opportunities and threats, and reducing vulnerability to surprises.