Building a better, healthier, greener Aotearoa post COVID-19

04 June 2020

Where to from here? COVID-19 has provided an opportunity for a reset. A chance to reassess priorities, processes, and investments as we look to recover. So, what should we be focusing on? How do we balance stimulating a swift economic recovery with the demands of addressing long-term issues that our country face? Ahead of this year's Government Budget we put these challenges to some leading thinkers in our recent discussion ‘Building a better, healther, greener Aotearoa post COVID-19’.

“As I look to the future we know there are many unknowns, but we know that the choices we make now are going to shape those outcomes,” economist, author and media commentator Shamubeel Eaqub said.

“My vision is that we choose to address those long standing issues of climate, inequality, and poverty in our country, which we know the solutions for but we haven’t had the courage or true egalitarianism in our society to be able to deal with it. The budget is just one opportunity, but as citizens the chance for us out of this incredible crisis is to band together as one nation.”

Recently crowned 2020 Future Thinker of the Year, Tessa Meyer, said climate resilience was an important theme for her, especially with her generation shouldering the debt from the recovery.

“I come at this not only as a sustainability professional but also as a young person who is deeply concerned about the future of our planet and I must admit, although this experience for us and the whole world has been devastating and scary, I feel a great sense of hope and relief that there is this resounding and very wide spread call for action that our economic recovery has to have climate resilience at its heart.”

Speaking from his place in Greymouth, Forest & Bird CEO and former MP Kevin Hague said he hoped people would emerge out of lockdown with a greater appreciation of nature and the need to protect it.

“Let’s retool the economy to actually deliver on our social and our environmental goals, that’s my hope. We have this opportunity to actually turn the oil tanker that we don’t normally have

The Chief Executive of Ngāi Tahu Property, David Kennedy, said there were a number of key C-words to keep in mind.

“I’d like us to be cohesive. I think cohesion is something that we require to construct positive go-forwardness. Without cohesion you have dissipated energy and dissipated understandings of what should be achieved. Another C word which I think is appropriate is community. I think communities need to, or should take the opportunity to group together so we see micro as well as macro activities which then can then blend in the middle to become the right ways forward and the agreed ways forward.”

To hear more from this discussion, moderated by award-winning journalist Nadine Higgins, watch the full webinar here