Rau rangatira mā, e huihui nei, tēnei aku mihi nui ki a koutou. Kia ora tātou katoa. Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, warm greetings to you all.
Thank you all for coming here today. I am delighted to host the first Wellington gathering of the Aspen Institute New Zealand.
The support of such distinguished New Zealanders is testament to the international reputation of the Institute and augurs well for its future.
I am looking forward to hearing about its activities to date and its future plans.
In these most uncertain of times, what is certain is that our nation’s reset has to be more than ‘business as usual’.
David Attenborough makes it sound simple: re-green the planet, protect and restore biodiversity, find more efficient ways to use land and produce food, and decrease our consumption and energy use.
Those of you who have been involved in geopolitical decision-making have a particular understanding of the complexity of those challenges.
You also appreciate what is possible when good people decide to work together to strengthen leadership and bring about positive change.
In Aotearoa New Zealand we are fortunate to be seeing real momentum in terms of public and private sector alliances that are focussing on developing effective policy, encouraging behavioural change, and achieving concerted action on some of the major challenges of our times.
I am privileged to be Patron of two such organisations: Koi Tu – the Centre for Informed Futures – and the Aotearoa Circle, whose most recent on-line forum focussed on sustainable policies around food, energy and transport in Aotearoa/New Zealand.
Just this week Sir Peter Gluckman has sent me the two latest Koi Tu reports – both focussing on a post-COVID reset.
I trust there will be opportunities for the Aspen Institute New Zealand to explore synergies with other such groups in Aotearoa – and thereby enable them to benefit from your connections with some of the world’s leading thinkers on complex issues of our times.
Your kaupapa of developing effective leadership is timely, relevant and valuable.
I wish everyone involved every success in your efforts to foster measures that will deliver a just and sustainable future for Aotearoa New Zealand – and help us fulfil our responsibilities as global citizens.