Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Councils appoint 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 (pictured) 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.”

He said Dr Daughney’s initial priorities will be to 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.

Dr Daughney’s part-time 12-month secondment with the sector starts on 25 January.

“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,” said Mr McCartney.

Dr Daughney said he was excited to be joining Te Uru Kahika.

“The sector is a crucial cog in New Zealand’s science system,” he said.

“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.”

Prior to joining NIWA, Dr Daughney has held roles as Principal Science Lead at the Ministry for the Environment, and as a Director within the Executive Team at GNS Science. He has also had previous science advisory positions within central government and several regional councils which reflects his understanding of the regional sector’s operating environment and complements his PhD in environmental geochemistry.

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