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Future not so bad for NZ - expert

Monday 3 Dec 2012 4:33 p.m.

A visiting expert on future trends believes New Zealand is well placed to capitalise on the changes that will sweep the globe in the coming decades.

Watch the full interview with Daniel Franklin

Daniel Franklin is executive editor of The Economist magazine - and editor of the book Megachange - and is here to speak at a forum on the future of the planet.

Despite concerns such as climate change, health scares and terrorism, Mr Franklin is excited about the future.

“I think there is probably in general far too much gloom and doom in the future gazing industry,” he says.

Mr Franklin says population growth and technology will drive change, and by 2050 the global population will have grown by a third, to nine billion.

“The world is going to be getting richer, more people are going to come out of absolute poverty - they are going to eat more meat for example.”

Food production will have to grow by around 70 percent, he says.

“There is going to have to be a lot more food produced around the world and those countries that do it well, such as New Zealand, have a lot of potential to teach the rest of the world.”

He believes New Zealand's well placed to capitalise on this.

“It's close to where the most dramatic, the most dynamic economic action is going to be in Asia. It's an English speaking country and English is probably going to continue to be the world language despite the rise of China.”

He says new approaches to climate change are needed after the world's political leaders failed to come up with an agreement at the Copenhagen talks.

“There are different approaches that are possible, both through local efforts, through technology [and] new energy technologies that may bring some help.”

He's the first to admit expert predictions are often wrong, but says we still need to give it a go.

“You will get them wrong, [but] life would be a bit boring if you got [it] 100 percent right.”

So Mr Franklin believes the future will turn out better than many predict - but different, as well.

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