Landslide Planning Guidance takes home industry award

Our Science

19 March 2024

L R Reg Proffit Scott Kelly Sylvia Allan Saskia de Vilder Megan Couture web2

The New Zealand Planning Institute (NZPI) has recognised the GNS-led Landslide Planning Guidance: Reducing Landslide Risk through Land-Use Planning as an exemplar of best practice in planning.

GNS Science’s Saskia de Vilder, Scott Kelly, Phil Glassey along with former GNS co-authors Robert Buxton and Sylvia Allan received the award for Strategic or non-statutory Planning at this year’s NZPI conference.

Engineering Geologist Dr Saskia de Vilder said the Guidance needed to combine the expertise of scientists, policymakers and planners to be successful.

“From the beginning of this process we knew that if we wanted the Guidance to be adopted in practice, we needed to bring policymakers and planners on the journey with us,” Dr de Vilder said.

Throughout its multi-year development, the Guidance was informed by a steering committee drawn from city, district and regional councils, central government ministries and Toka Tū Ake EQC. 

This accolade acknowledges this was the right approach, culminating in a product that will have impact across the planning sector, cascading through to the lives and livelihoods of New Zealanders.

Dr Saskia de Vilder Engineering Geologist GNS Science
Sylvia Allan Scott Kelly Saskia de Vilder v2
(L-R) Sylvia Allan, Scott Kelly and Saskia de Vilder

Senior Natural Hazards Planner Scott Kelly said the award is an incredible endorsement for the Guidance.

“We hope this award brings attention to the value of the Guidance and encourages planners to incorporate the risk of landslide hazards early in the planning process,” Scott Kelly said.

“The levels of hazard and risk analysis outlined in the Guidance have been developed with good practice planning, and hazard and risk management principles at their core, and may be adapted to changes in resource management legislature, ensuring its longevity.”

Risk Reduction Scientist Phil Glassey said he considered the award as welcome positive feedback for the Guidance released just two months ago.

“Recent events including the 2023 Auckland floods and Cyclone Gabrielle have demonstrated the timeliness of this Guidance. We hope the recommendations and examples of good practice we have outlined are a catalyst in changing land-use planning and practice, so that the future impacts of landslides will be reduced,” Phil Glassey said.

“We want to thank NZPI for their support and for this award that will undoubtedly contribute to this goal.”

The Guidance has been developed by the MBIE-funded Earthquake-Induced Landscape Dynamics programme and as part of the Hazard and Risk Management Strategic Science Investment Fund programme.

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