The development process of the New Zealand Water Safety Sector Strategy 2025
At the Water Safety New Zealand Drowning Prevention Summit 2019, there was strong feedback from attendees that members and interested parties should have the opportunity to contribute to the development of the new Water Safety Sector Strategy. Water Safety New Zealand engaged a project manager in early 2020 to coordinate the process, develop the consultation document and collate and combine feedback.
A significant phase in the development process was the holding of Cross Sector Reference Group workshops. At these workshops the group considered the previous strategy, analysed data and considered the evolving patterns of drowning and other factors that might impact drowning prevention and water safety over the next five year period.
A consultation document was released mid-year to enable interested local, regional and national agencies and other multi-sector groups interested in water safety and drowning prevention outcomes to feed back into the process. This feedback was discussed by the Cross Sector Reference Group and fed into the development of the final draft strategy. The final draft strategy was released in November 2020 to close the consultation loop and provide interested stakeholders with an understanding of how feedback was incorporated.
COVID-19 significantly impacted the early development process of the strategy. Face to face meetings were not able to be conducted for the first two workshops. However, all agencies committed to keep momentum going by holding online meetings. Water Safety New Zealand and the Cross Sector Reference Group wished to ensure that all interested parties were properly consulted and had the opportunity to provide input during a time of nationwide uncertainty.