How to begin the hugely complex task of thinking about the future?
– Margaret Hunn, Commission for the Future, 1981
In the mid-1970s international futurist Alvin Toffler visited New Zealand. During this visit he met with both Prime Minister Robert Muldoon and future Prime Minister Jim Bolger (who at the time was a National Party MP). Their meeting was a precursor to the passing of the 1977 New Zealand Planning Act, which established both the Commission for the Future (long-term thinking) and the New Zealand Planning Council (medium-term planning).
While the Commission was later disbanded in 1982 under Muldoon, and the Council dissolved in 1991 under Bolger, recent initiatives such as the Infrastructure Commission and the proposed Climate Change Commission have the potential to embed foresight into public policy in new ways.
Shifting away from linear short-term planning is becoming more important as the world faces increasing uncertainty, interconnectedness and exponential change. These challenges will require different ways of exploring and thinking about our future and may lead to the design of new instruments and institutions.
Join us for a panel discussion between Rt Hon Jim Bolger and former members of the Commission for the Future and the New Zealand Planning Council, followed by reflections from several future thinkers on how we might embed foresight into public policy in 2020 and beyond.
Rt Hon Jim Bolger, Former Prime Minister 1990–1997
Dame Silvia Cartwright, Commissioner, Commission for the Future 1977-1981
Dame Beverley Wakem, Commissioner, Commission for the Future 1977-1981
Peter Rankin, Chief Executive, New Zealand Planning Council 1982–1990
Tāmati Kruger, Chief Negotiator, Tuhoe 2013 Treaty Settlement
Amy Fletcher, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Canterbury
Wendy McGuinness, Chief Executive, McGuinness Institute
Location: National Library of New Zealand (Aitken Street entrance)