“Haere taka mua, taka muri. Kaua e whai. Go in front, not behind. Don’t follow!”-Māori proverb
Pure Advantage was founded in 2011 on the conviction that New Zealand is in a global race for green growth — and we cannot afford to slip behind.
Since then, not enough has happened—and, in certain respects, things have only got worse. In 2011, for example, the Global Green Economy Index (GGEI) had New Zealand ranked number one in its assessment of 27 of the world’s leading economies. By 2012, we had slipped to sixth. In 2014, we were ranked 18th among sixty survey countries.
The aim of this discussion paper is to get us back in the race for green growth. It takes the view that we shouldn’t be a “fast follower” in the transition to a low-emissions world. Rather, we should be a “canny leader”—that is, we should follow where we must, but lead wherever we can. Because by leading on issues that affect us most, we gain disproportionately from finding solutions.
An example of canny leadership is our leading role in the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases. But this isn’t the only area we should be canny leaders on. Another is trees.
This discussion paper sets out to show the economic and environmental benefits of expanding our forests. Whatever is meant by “green growth” and the “green economy”, it will involve an economy that readily recognises the value of trees and has the capacity to expand forest stocks accordingly. And by focusing on trees, we bring simplicity to the complex issues that trees impact upon, whether through diversifying our economy, improving water quality, protecting biodiversity, or making a meaningful contribution to climate change.