Long-term insights in New Zealand

16:30 by Cornelius Holtorf

According to the New Zealand Public Service Act 2020 (Section 8), departments of New Zealand public service must prepare long-term insights briefings and present them to the appropriate Minister at least once every 3 years. Their purpose is to make available into the public domain information and impartial analysis about medium- and long-term trends, risks, and opportunities that affect or may affect New Zealand and New Zealand society.

There is considerable information and guidance available for this process (here is a good entry point), including the following thoughts:

  • The New Zealand public service has a duty of stewardship, to look ahead and provide advice on future challenges and opportunities.
  • The public service isn’t immune to having immediate and urgent matters crowd out the future. Maintaining a focus on the long term requires appropriate investment and an intentional approach. It requires a public service that values foresight – to think, anticipate and act with the future interests of people in New Zealand front and centre.
  • The Briefings are think pieces on the future, not government policy. The Briefings are an opportunity to enhance public debate on long-term issues and usefully contribute to future decision making – not only by government but also by Māori, business, academia, not-for-profit organisations, and the wider public.’

The public is suggested to be informed like this (among others): 

We need to make sure that New Zealand considers and is ready for the future. The Briefings will help us collectively as a country to think about, and plan for, the future. They will identify and explore the long-term issues that matter for the future wellbeing of people in New Zealand. Each Briefing will explore a different topic.

The future is everyone’s responsibility, affecting us and future generations. Everyone can have their say on what topics the Briefings should cover. The Briefings are not current government policy. The Briefings are to provide information and insights that could be used in the future by anyone. They will help all of us to make decisions about the future.

New Zealand also provides a very useful guidance to existing principles and techniques of futures thinking, containing also links to additional resources elsewhere.

These briefings apply to all departments in the New Zealand public service, including the Ministry for Culture & Heritage. I am very curious to learn more!

Cornelius Holtorf
In 2017, Linnaeus University in Kalmar, Sweden, was awarded a UNESCO Chair on Heritage Futures. This is one of eight Chairs in Sweden, and the only one within the cultural sector. Cornelius Holtorf, holder of the UNESCO Chair, alongside his team, will continue to generate ideas through this forum.

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