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Lake Taupo: A Multi-Sector Collaborative Partnership towards Sustainable Development

This thesis has created a case study that centres on stakeholder engagement within Lake Taupo, documenting the largest environmental protection project in New Zealand. The purpose of the case study is to determine how multiple stakeholder perspectives affect the business case for sustainable development. In the late 1990s regional council, along with the community, realised that intensive land use was threatening the pristine quality of water. Forestry and sheep and beef farming are the two dominant productive sectors within the area. Science indicated that due to the porous nature of soil within the catchment, farming deer, dairy and sheep and beef, resulted in an increase of nitrogen entering the lake and consequently reduced water quality. A range of stakeholders, including local, regional, central government, along with many other private businesses, cooperated and engaged in an effort to ensure sustainable development could continue within the Taupo catchment. The process spanning more than ten years from 2000-2011 resulted in legislation that initiated a behaviour change to low intensive land uses. The partnership also included the establishment of a trust to administer the use of public funds to reduce the amount of nitrogen entering the catchment by 20 per cent. The multi-sector, stakeholder partnership, produced innovative methods to secure a future for sustainable development in Taupo. Policy documents and newspaper articles were analysed while interviews were conducted with a range of crucial stakeholders, including forestry trusts, government representatives, farmers and a range of businesses operating within the catchment. The results of the research suggests the involvement of such an array of stakeholders, enabled a coherent and all-encompassing strategy, due to the input from diverse public and private stakeholders, even if some stakeholders took a self-interested approach. The findings illustrate a business case that was created for many landowner stakeholders which aided in the creation of new business models. Engagement enabled the majority of stakeholders to see the perspectives of others because policy development was brought down to a community level. However there was an apparent lack of industry involvement from the farming sector as many stakeholders felt that the farming industry needed to play a crucial role, when in fact, they avoided the issues of their farmer members within the catchment and did not engage until it was too late. A large number of stakeholders felt that an uncertain environment was created due to legislation. Nonetheless the involvement of community groups and businesses such as the Lake Taupo Protection Trust (LTPT) and Mighty River Power (MRP) in trading nitrogen and carbon has enabled the creation of a sound business model for landowners. A sustainable business model by promoting the economic benefits to landowners ensured the farming community had support to generate new revenue streams. Therefore the uncertainty, as local legislation has not come into effect and the uncertainty surrounding a national and international Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), has been diminished as these businesses engage with farmers. The realisation for landowners to rationalise their land for sustainable uses has increased their bottom line and decreased their nitrogen leaching, thus protecting the lake. The Lake Taupo case illustrated important learning‘s that can be applied to any environmental protection project. The inclusion of private and public entities can enable a sustainable future where businesses can be the ‗engines of change.‘
Type of thesis
de Jong, J. (2011). Lake Taupo: A Multi-Sector Collaborative Partnership towards Sustainable Development (Thesis, Master of Management Studies (MMS)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/5292
University of Waikato
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