Regional and unitary councils of New Zealand appoint inaugural Chief Science Advisor

18 January 2022

Te Uru Kahika appoint Dr Chris Daughney as the sector’s inaugural Chief Science Advisor.

Te Uru Kahika, the Regional and Unitary Councils of Aotearoa New Zealand, have appointed Dr Chris Daughney as the sector’s inaugural Chief Science Advisor.

Regional Chief Executive Officers representative Michael McCartney says the recruitment of Dr Daughney is both welcomed and timely.

“With a raft of central government policy reform and their discussion document for New Zealand’s science funding system underway, regional sector coordination and input into national direction setting is crucial,” says Mr McCartney.

“The regional sector is charged with the integrated management of land, air, and water resources, supporting biodiversity and biosecurity, providing for regional transport services, and building more resilient communities in the face of climate change and natural hazards. Environmental science and local knowledge underpins all that we do.

“Chris’ initial priorities will ensure Te Uru Kahika’s input into national direction setting for environmental science and its funding structure, while working with the country’s 16 individual regional councils and unitary authorities to understand their needs and the opportunities for further cross-sector science.

“Chris’ part time 12 month secondment with the sector starts on 25 January 2022. He comes to us with a wealth of experience, including his current role as Chief Science Advisor for NIWA which he will continue to do independently of his position with Te Uru Kahika.”

Dr Daughney says he is excited to be joining Te Uru Kahika as the regional council sector is one of the key organisations for implementing central government policy.

“The sector is a crucial cog in New Zealand’s science system,” says Dr Daughney.

“Their role in environmental management is heavily based on science and data, and turning this into practicable and implementable solutions at a localised level.

“They have extensive knowledge of the catchments that they work in and how each differs depending on contributing environs, as well as a strong connection to Te Ao Māori and the communities that are affected by decision making.

“This special type of science, that is a key part of the system, has often been overlooked. I look forward to raising its profile and strengthening the sector’s relationship with other environmental science providers and policy makers.”