The Matrix of Drivers draws upon 650 unique sources of information (494 international and 156 domestic) of academic, industry, regulatory and legislative origin.
This 2019 report identifies key trends and challenges with potential to impact land use in New Zealand, prioritised by primary sector leaders, with open access to current, reliable sources of evidence.
A 2022 update has subsequently been published.
The report compiles and summarises an evidence base of 1,093 international and domestic sources of information, selected through an academic literature review process. This process also considered key strategic and regulatory documents from New Zealand’s government and regional agencies, and information from primary sector groups and farmer associations.
This evidence base is open access, providing clear links to credible, relevant primary sources of evidence about primary sector trends and challenges.
The report also includes a review of international consumer preferences studies, providing evidence for the range of premiums that New Zealand export customers are willing to pay for attributes such as organic certification.
The research team identified 34 key drivers likely to impact on land use change and practice in New Zealand. To assess the relative importance of these drivers, in October/November 2019 researchers surveyed primary sector leaders and others with an interest in New Zealand’s primary industries. Open-ended questions were included to allow participants to identify the most critical issues without being prompted.
Climate change was significantly more important to participants than any other international issue, with significant growth in concern since the previous survey (September/October 2017). Domestically, water quality was indicated to be important to more participants (closely followed by climate change) than any other domestic issues.
Six broad categories of future influences were identified by the research team as most likely to affect New Zealand land use: climate change, global trends and challenges, emerging technologies, innovative products/new food technology, consumer trends, and the international trading environment.
Unsurprisingly, climate change was identified as the global challenge most likely to be highly impactful on New Zealand land use change and practice in the future, with a likelihood of significant disruptions to regional production trends, biosecurity, ecosystem integrity and social conditions, as well as producing higher frequency and intensity extreme weather events and heavily influencing domestic policy regarding land use.
A growing global population, coupled with the challenges of maintaining a social license to operate, combating food waste and maintaining stable markets, were also identified as challenges on a global scale. Greater development and use of new technologies designed to provide data and improve practices, both on-farm and in-market, are also highly likely to influence land use trends.
Consumer preferences are also changing, with an increased market presence for alternative protein products, as well as increasing interest in vegetarian, vegan and flexitarian diets. The international trading environment will also continue to contribute to the success of New Zealand’s primary product exports, particularly with the development of bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements.
Domestically, environmental drivers were considered to be the most likely to affect land use change and practice, while social drivers were considered to have the least likely effect. Biosecurity, soil quality, water use and quality were the most important domestic environmental drivers, with agricultural and trade policy also important.
Internationally, analysis of more than 30 drivers for Asia, US and Europe highlighted key differences compared with New Zealand. Agricultural and trade policy were identified as important drivers, especially in the US and Europe.
Key environmental drivers internationally included water quality and quantity, air quality, biosecurity and biodiversity, chemical residues, sustainable supply and pasture-based production methods. However, the potential influence of the various international environmental drivers on land use practice and change in New Zealand varied between global regions.
Associated modelling of these data revealed:
A 25% reduction in trade barriers would increase returns to dairy alone by $1 billion.
Under a moderate climate change scenario, New Zealand would likely experience almost a 10% drop in producer returns for agriculture, these loses coming predominantly from a shift from pastoral land use. Conversely, the occurrence of extreme weather events overseas results in minor benefits for agricultural producers in New Zealand as interrupted production overseas creates higher global food prices.
New Zealand agricultural exports could obtain a 50% premium in key markets if producers considered international market preferences; this could result in up to a US$5.5 billion increase in total producer returns, with significant increases in returns for dairy products, and both sheep and beef meat.
Increased trade liberalisation globally would also have a significant positive impact for agricultural returns, with higher returns of up to 30% for raw milk and up to 20% for beef producers.
This information informed the initial Our Land and Water strategy and research portfolio.
Report for Our Land and Water