Talk about “back to the future”, as government Ministers propose a Ministry of Works-style model post Covid-19!

It’s always amazed me how often people on my environmental training workshops say “Bring back the Ministry of Works!” Why? Yes, it was often because of its clear leadership and no-nonsense “get it done” attitude.

And I remember other things that I reckon were even more important:

  • the apprenticeship schemes that allowed young people to be mentored into environmental monitoring roles that eventually led them into positions of leadership;
  • the Town and Country Planning Division that back in the 1970s actually suggested stopping people from building on flood plains…and
  • the Water and Soil Division that conducted real research relevant to the fantastic work of old Catchment Boards and Regional Water Boards – we all looked forward so much to getting their publications in the mail (pre-internet days!) so we could improve our work accordingly.

Not to mention the close links with the DSIR – the unified government Department of Science and Industrial Research that was later split into several CRIs, our Crown Research Institutes. The International Hydrological Decade was before my time, but we carried on the research, instrumenting river basins, investigating groundwater, mapping soil types, getting up to speed with integrated catchment management and the fact that stormwater wasn’t pure rainwater… honestly, it was wildly exciting!

Compare this with the current context:

  • large numbers of new government agencies to address institutional issues with environment, development and infrastructure
  • significant number of much-needed environmental reforms
  • a highly complex environment for the construction and other sectors to navigate – everyone from councils and mana whenua to clients, consultants, contractors, communities.

Hmmmm …. could a new MOW(S)D streamline the building of a sustainable New Zealand? And if we integrate into its role the terrific sustainability tools now available, we can genuinely enhance our country’s already awesome assets across our social, cultural, economic and environmental wellbeings!

Read more in the excellent article at #Newsroom

#ShaneJones #PhilTwyford #BringBackMOWSD! #WaterNewZealand #CrownInfrastructurePartners #InfrastructureNZ #CCNZ #JustTransition #Wellbeing #PlanetaryTraining