By Laura Kvigstad, Auckland Council reporter
Funded by New Zealand on Air
Pleas for future generations, jabs at privilege and councillors' personal accountability were all heard during emission reduction discussions at Auckland Council.
At an external Environement and Climate Change committee on August 18 councillors voted to adopt the Transport Emissions Reduction Pathway (TERP).
The pathway outlines how Auckland will reduce its transport emissions by 64 percent by 2030.
One councillor, Daniel Newman, took aim at his colleagues and challenged the privilege of members at the committee.
Cr and mayoral candidate Fa'anānā Efeso Collins said earlier in meeting he was traveling to Warkworth for a mayoral debate, prompting Newman to ask how he was getting there.
"The TERP is not about complimenting the lifestyles of Aucklanders. In my view, it is about squeezing Aucklanders in order to change their lives. The people who are doing that squeezing are comparatively privileged people,” Newman said.
“We are people who are highly paid elected members, directors, senior managers here for a 10 am meeting for a debate about a blueprint on how one engineers the lives and movements of people who start much earlier than that.”
Newman, who is seeking re-election, said he had been putting up signs around his ward using a car because it was convenient and short trips work for him.
Newman’s comments were directed at proposed action within the pathway to reduce the number short trips taken by Aucklanders.
“I do not wish to preach a standard for others that I do not practice in my own life,” Newman said.
Newman challenged members of the committee seeking re-election who had been putting up signs around their ward: “I want to ask you this, how many of you traveled around your wards on the back of a bicycle? How many of you carried your poles and your pegs and your tools on the back of a bike?”
Cr Pippa Coom, who was spotted bringing her bike into the townhall from a torrential downpour earlier in the day, put up her hand at Newman’s comments, indicating she had done just that.
Cr Josephine Bartley said she had driven to committee that day.
“I am very mindful that I am sitting here on a vote about transport emissions reduction when I drove here and I am going to drive home in my four wheel drive,” Bartley said.
“I do not want to come across as a hypocrite. I think there are lots of other people out there who are like me, that want to do something… they do not want to be hypocrites, they want to do their part for the environment … but they need viable options.”
“I have got options. I could have caught the train but it was delayed and I needed to get here.”
Bartley said Aucklanders need “efficient, reliable, affordable” public transport options, “if we want people to change their behaviour we need to give them options to do that.”
Chair Richard Hills said he was nervous ahead of the vote but woke up to his nine month old son kicking him in the face.
Hills said that he thought about what his son would think in 20 years time if the committee did not pass the TERP.
"It will improve our air quality, improve our water quality, give people options and just create a better environment. It is not about creating dystopia, it’s trying to avoid it,” Hills said.
“It is late, but it is better late than never.”