Mark Thomas - New Mayor for Auckland

Global Trade Trumps The Auckland Environment

Auckland Council spent two hours today debating the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement the same day the first Auckland State of the Environment Report in 5 years came out.

The irony will not have been lost on many.

The State of the Environment Report assessed a range of factors that Auckand Council actually directly impacts and regulates: water quality, natural environment, built heritage.

The TTPA is a multi-nation economic agreement covering 40% of global GRP that few people have even seen the detail of.

The TTPA will undoubtedly have an impact on Auckland and there may well be issues in it that council may want to consider. But the agreement, which can only be rejected or agreed but not amended, is going to go through a full government legislative process. So Auckland Council will be able to make a submission to the appropriate select committee.

Instead today’s debate and the narrow 12-10 vote (mainly against progressing the TTPA debate for now), reinforces the need for a wider discussion among Aucklanders about what we want our council to focus on.

Meanwhile, as today’s NZ Herald report showed, Auckland is lagging in at least 3 of the five environmental indicators. And in Heritage, which gets a tick, we are actually falling behind the Mayor’s Auckland Plan targets. More on that tomorrow.

Today the international trade debate trumped the local environment, but if we are to make more progress in Auckland we need to focus more on the things we control.

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