From Environmental Policy to Practice: Preparing for a Low-emissions Future

Published 9 October 2018

EIANZ New Zealand Annual Symposium | Christchurch | Friday 14 September 2018

A Symposium is a “gathering at which people discuss a specific topic” and the Christchurch organising team was keen to ensure that the event this year would provide that balance of information and conversation.

This year the Chapter’s annual symposium focused on practical steps being taken around the country to turn policy around low carbon emissions into everyday environmental practice. Some 40+ environmental professionals met at the Russley Golf Club in Christchurch for a full day of presentations leading to lively discussions.

We were pleased to welcome Amelia Sharman to set out in some detail the findings and recommendations of the Productivity Commission’s report: “New Zealand’s Transition to a low-emissions economy”. Amelia worked on the report and is now on secondment to the Interim Climate Change Commission so was able to set the scene with an up-to-the-minute view from two of the organisations leading the thinking about transition.

The second keynote speaker, Craig Salmon, is Climate Change Policy Manager with the Ministry for the Environment and has been responsible for development of the Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) and legislation so provided the Wellington perspective on future trading.

Ten speakers then covered a range of topics covering communications with businesses, communities, and local bodies; carbon emissions trading and reforestation options; agricultural emissions; Ngāi Tahu’s approach to the issue; and Christchurch’s innovative electric vehicle initiatives.

The NZ Chapter Executive is keen to encourage student participation in events, so ran a competition to select two students to present a short paper as part of the main programme. Tsani Rakhmah (Otago University) and Richard Moreham (Lincoln University) were selected. Garrett Lentz and Danial Basubas were invited to submit posters.  This is likely to become a regular feature of EIANZ NZ Chapter events in future.

Participants welcomed the generous time for questions and discussions around a panel of speakers at the end of the day, allowing everyone to feel they could be involved.

To round the day off, a networking drinks event was held at the Antarctic Centre. There we enjoyed the Antarctic storm experience (minus 18 degrees and 42 kph winds), a 4D movie, and penguin viewing while relaxing after a really enjoyable day.

Our thanks to MC Paul Keighley (EIANZ Secretary) and to Samantha Roberts (the new EIANZ Executive Officer) for coming across the Tasman to participate in the day. I also extend my personal thanks to the Christchurch organising team: Annabelle, Di, Geoff, Isobel, James, Paula, Pene, Rachel  and Steph for enthusiastically and efficiently making this happen.

The presentations will be put up on the EIANZ website shortly – and keep an eye open for the date and location of next year’s Symposium.


Dr Judith Roper-Lindsay CEnvP, FEIANZ, MCIEEM
Chair, Christchurch Symposium Team