Among developed nations we are arguably the most dependent on our natural environment for earning our living. This reliance goes well beyond the primary sector on land and at sea to attracting tourists, students, immigrants and investors. Above all, our natural assets help define us as a nation.
Here are the eight news events that mattered this week in New Zealand's political economy.
This election comes down to a simple choice on a vast array of complex issues. Rod Oram looks at National's record and the options for change. He concludes more of the same won’t deliver for New Zealand, while new leaders and policies will.
The environment, already a hot topic in this election, will be the greatest policy challenge of all for the next government, writes Rod Oram.
So what would a managed retreat from rising sea levels look like? Lynn Grieveson takes a look at how the Dunedin City Council is trying to avoid the mistakes of Kapiti Coast and Christchurch by educating residents in the former marshland of South Dunedin about the risks of rising sea levels, and by proposing to make new homes relocatable.
Councils will have to think much more carefully before they allow housing developments on flood plains and in low-lying coastal areas because of little-noticed reforms buried within the latest changes to the Resource Management Act (RMA). And, although these reforms don't apply to existing homes, councils are becoming more aggressive about adding information to LIMs warning property buyers of the risks of flooding in severe weather events or due to rising water levels.
In today's email, we detail at what Nick Smith had to do to get his RMA reform bill over the line, we look at the latest business confidence and house price statistics and at some interesting news about gene tests and insurance - and how the headlines were instead grabbed by a spaghetti pizza.
Environment Minister Nick Smith has finally secured the two Māori Party votes he needed to get the Government's long-touted Resource Management Act reforms over its final Parliamentary hurdle, but it came at a cost.
In today's email, we detail the Labour-Green "Budget Responsibility Rules", check out the latest poll results and detail the sticking points holding back RMA reform from getting across the line.
The Maori Party and the Government are in the final days of negotiations that would allow Resource Management Act reforms to pass. But the Maori Party is pushing hard to water down a clause that would allow any Environment Minister to over-ride Council rules such as a ban on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). It is pushing so hard that ACT and United Future think there is a real prospect of a complete impasse that might force the Government to ask for their help. The Maori Party and the Government say they are still confident of agreeing a deal, but brinksmanship is getting more intense.