The Role of Governance Cultures in the Stability of New Zealand’s Energy Policy — ASN Events

The Role of Governance Cultures in the Stability of New Zealand’s Energy Policy (16051)

Todd Croad 1
  1. Department of Politics and Centre for Sustainability, University of Otago, Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand

This theoretical paper will give an overview of in-depth qualitative PhD research being undertaken on the stability of New Zealand’s energy policy. New Zealand undertakes long term, high level, energy policy planning in the form of the New Zealand Energy Strategy, and the New Zealand Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy. While this might seem to naturally lead to a high degree of policy stability in and of itself, this does not reflect what has actually occurred in recent years.

In this research, resilience concepts (Walker et al. 2004) are used to examine the issue of policy stability. The policy-making arena itself is conceptualised through a variation of the Energy Cultures Framework proposed by Stephenson et al. 2010. The original Energy Cultures Framework is adapted to help investigate governance cultures. The behaviour of policymakers is analysed as the product of their practices, norms, and governance infrastructures (including institutions, structures and their capacity), and key influences on these. The boundary of analysis is the state’s government and the governance apparatus tied to the energy sector: other bodies are considered external. 

This conceptual framework is being used to investigate the 2007 and 2011 iterations of New Zealand’s Energy Strategy and Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy. Moving forward, in-depth qualitative interviews are being undertaken with key participants from the development of these strategies.

  1. Stephenson, Janet, B. Barton, G. Carrington, D. Gnoth, R. Lawson, and P. Thorsnes. 2010. "Energy cultures: A framework for understanding energy behaviours." Energy Policy no. 38 (10):6120-6129.
  2. Walker, Brian, C. S. Holling, R. Carpenter Stephen, and P. Kinzig Ann. 2004. "Resilience, Adaptability and Transformability in Social-ecological Systems." Ecology and Society no. 9 (2):5.