This page is a work in progress as at 20231016
The ScenariosNZ project aims to contribute to the discussions that help inform decision-makers using scenarios to explore the long-term future.
The Institute defines a scenario as a process for identifying and assessing the future under conditions of uncertainty, using more than one variable, in at least two or more possible worlds. This is in contrast to sensitivity analysis, where only one variable is used.
National scenarios are those that look at New Zealand as a whole, while local scenarios focus on a particular geographical area. Scenarios can be specific or general. Specific scenarios focus on a particular topic – e.g. climate change scenarios, which aim to identify and assess the possible risks, challenges and opportunities of changes in climate on a country (see here for more information). In contrast, general scenarios identify and assess a wide range of issues (e.g. social unrest, an economic recession and climate change) through a broad lens.
See below for our list of publicy available scenarios. We have categorised all scenarios by their primary area of focus, such as economics, infrastructure and biodiversity.
Working Paper 2023/01 – List of publicly available national and local scenarios as at 31 December 2022
Table 1: All potential scenarios that are published and found in the public domain (last updated 31 Dec 2022) 
Working Paper 2023/01: List of publicly available national and local scenarios as at 31 December 2022 identifies as many scenario documents as the Institute could find, and in doing so, aims to enable better understanding of the current state of institutional capacity and capability regarding scenario development. The initial stages of this work involved creating a list of all potential scenario documents that were publically available and could be found online by the Institute (the full methodology can be found within the working paper).
Table 1 below lists all of the potential scenario documents that were collected.
Please email any additions to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject heading ‘Aotearoa New Zealand Scenarios’. We are keen to bring together as many scenarios as possible to help shape and inform both our thinking and that of those interested in foresight work.
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Table 2: All national and local scenarios that meet the Institute’s assessment criteria as at 31 December 2022 
The full list of potential scenario documents was subsequently assessed against the Institute’s criteria of a scenario document. This requires a document to: be publicly available, include a set of scenarios (i.e. comparing two or more future worlds), explore two or more variables within each scenario (analysis that examines the effect of changing just one variable at a time is called a sensitivity analysis, not a scenario), explore a timeframe of at least two years, and include a method explaining how the scenarios were developed.
Table 2 below lists the 53 documents that were aligned to the Institute’s criteria of a scenario document. The table can be searched to filter by specific types of scenarios or publishers. For example, to view only scenarios relating to climate change, enter ‘climate change’ into the search box.
*17 scenario documents have been included despite not including a method explaining how the scenarios were developed. These documents instead used representative concentration pathways (RCPs) to describe different future worlds without explanation on how the RCP scenarios were specifically developed. For more context see Working Paper 2023/01: List of publicly available national and local scenarios as at 31 December 2022.
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See a selection of our latest research and publications related to ScenariosNZ below.
Working Paper 2023/01: List of publicly available national and local scenarios as at 31 December 2022
Discussion Paper 2023/02: Establishing national climate-related reference scenarios
Working Paper 2021/07: Scoping the use of the term ‘climate scenarios’ and other climate-related terms in Aotearoa New Zealand and international literature
Working Paper 2021/10: Analysis of Existing Scenarios in Aotearoa New Zealand