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Principal Advisor: Risk Reduction & Resilience,

Champion of Land Use Planning, Earthquake Commission

Dr Wendy Saunders is the Principle Advisor for Risk Reduction & Resilience at EQC, and their Champion of Land Use Planning.   After 16 years of natural hazards planning experience at GNS Science, Wendy is now developing and implementing EQC's Smarter Land Use Planning Action Plan for Risk Reduction. This plan signals EQC's intent to become more involved in supporting and encouraging better land use planning outcomes that reduce risks though leadership, collaboration, and as an active submitter.


EQC: Insuring the Future of Planning

The Earthquake Commission (EQC) is a Crown entity investing in natural disaster research, education and providing insurance to residential property owners.  Despite our name, we cover more than just earthquakes; and as well as providing insurance, administering the National Disaster Fund, and funding education and research, we are now becoming more involved in land use planning decision making. As the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff for poor planning outcomes, EQC is investing in supporting national agencies, councils, the private sector and communities to achieve smarter planning outcomes that incorporate natural hazard risk reduction, including the impacts of climate change. 

There are a number of challenges we face: the silo-ing of climate change and natural hazards; inconsistent national policies;  differing priorities and pressures; councils unable (or not wanting) to say 'no'; not learning from past events; legacy and future planning issues; and the possibility that planning will become the residual risk of the future for insurers.  

To help and support the planning profession, EQC has developed the Smarter Land Use Planning Action Plan for Risk Reduction, which outlines four objectives to achieve the aim of taking a proactive approach to reducing current and future risks through risk-informed planning.  These are based around providing leadership, risk-based planning based on knowledge and understanding; building capability and capacity; and translating and transforming science for decision making. 

We can't achieve these objectives alone - we need strong national and local policy and planning, consultants, universities, geotechnical and structural engineers, and the public to join in a common, resilient vision for the future to achieve the actions.

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