As the world grows increasingly connected, we often overlook the potential for global catastrophes that could leave us isolated and in the dark. New Zealand is one of the few island nations that could continue to produce enough food to feed its population in a nuclear winter, according to a new study. In this blog post, we’ll explore why New Zealand is so well-equipped to withstand the extreme conditions of a nuclear winter and the steps we need to take to ensure our resilience in the face of an unpredictable future.

The research, conducted by Professor Nick Wilson from the University of Otago and independent researcher Dr Matt Boyd from Adapt Research in New Zealand, was published in the international journal Risk Analysis. It concluded that five island nations, including New Zealand, could be well-placed to continue to produce food despite the reduced sunlight and cooler temperatures caused by soot in the atmosphere following a nuclear war in the Northern Hemisphere. The other countries named in the study were Australia, Iceland, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands.

Despite New Zealand’s ability to produce enough food, its production and distribution is still threatened by the country’s extreme dependence on imported commodities, such as refined fuel. This leaves New Zealand in a precarious position, as it lacks the ability to manufacture many replacement parts for farm and food processing machinery.

The findings of the study reinforce the need to analyse nuclear winter and other abrupt sunlight reducing scenarios as part of a comprehensive national risk assessment. This assessment should include priorities for rationing, as well as a plan for dealing with a wide range of extreme risks.

It’s clear that New Zealand is in a unique position when it comes to surviving a nuclear winter, and the steps we take now will determine our resilience in the future. By understanding the risks associated with a global catastrophe, we can ensure that New Zealand is well-equipped to survive an unpredictable future.