At the Interface of Research and Implementation: An Assessment of the Work of the Nutrient Trading Study Group (NTSG)

This was presented as a Report to Motu Economic and Public Policy Research and was commissioned by Motu Economic and Public Policy Research

This review was prepared by Guy Salmon of the Ecologic Foundation to be an independent review of the NTSG process, to accompany the internal review prepared by Glen Lauder. It was carried out with input from participants (but not Motu or Glen Lauder). The review assesses the experience of the NTSG and, by relating this to Guy's knowledge and experience of Nordic governance processes, offers suggestions for improving the process for future dialogue groups.

Motu sought a short internal report which would:

  1. Review experience of the Nutrient Trading Study Group (NTSG);
  2. Make a comparison between this process and Nordic collaborative governance processes;
  3. Make suggestions for refining and improving the process used in NTSG for future planned dialogues (agricultural emissions trading and water management).

Research material made available for this project by Motu included copies of presentations to, and minutes and recordings of, all meetings of the NTSG over its 17-month study period; working papers on the design of a nutrient trading system for Lake Rotorua; a six page account of the genesis and development of the NTSG furnished by facilitator Glen Lauder (Lauder, 2009) and various incidental notes and papers, notably including a note entitled "Thoughts on the intention of the group."

Resources available for this project were constrained, which imposed some practical limitations on the scope of the investigation: only a day could be spent reading documents and investigating the context for the NTSG process; the research interviews were limited to nine; these were conducted by telephone rather than face-to-face; they were relatively short (40 minutes to one hour); there was no analysis of the various discourses being used by participants, which would have required additional time, including preparation of full transcripts.