Dunedin and Wellington are bringing North and South together in more ways than one as they are announced as New Zealand’s first Fair Trade Cities by the Fair Trade Association of Australia and New Zealand (FTAANZ).
The two cities are the first in the country to join the global consumer revolution campaigning for a better deal for farmers and workers in the developing world by promoting and supporting fair trade.
The applications were awarded simultaneously by FTAANZ after both cities made a substantial commitment to the promotion of fair trade and the use of Fairtrade Certified products, both at a local council level and in shops, businesses and in the community.
Julia Campbell, Education and Community Liaison Officer, FTAANZ says; ‘This joint achievement highlights the wide range of communities that are making a collective commitment to fair trade.
From North Island’s Wellington to South Island’s Dunedin, Kiwis are coming together to change the lives of farmers and workers in the developing world. I’m inspired by the passion and commitment shown by all the individuals involved to make this momentous achievement a reality.”
Wellington’s bid for Fair Trade City status has been driven by its numerous innovative businesses and active community spirit. Businesses such as Trade Aid, Commonsense Organics, Celcius Coffee and People’s Coffee have been instrumental in pulling together a broad cross-section of the Wellington community to get behind this campaign. Others have shown their support by signing up to the Fair Trade Workplaces Scheme – including a wealth of support from various Parliamentary Offices.
Councillor Celia Wade-Brown, a member of Wellington’s steering group welcomes the Fair Trade City status.
She says, “It’s a reflection of Wellington’s sophisticated cafe culture uniting with compassion. I’d like to thank the members of the steering group for their persistence in making this happen. Fair Trade City status means we can raise the profile among residents and businesses alike about whether their purchases support or ignore ethical production.”
Mayor Kerry Prendergast says, “We were the first council in New Zealand to declare support for the principal of fair trade and we are now the first capital city in the Southern Hemisphere with Fair Trade City status.” It is something Mayor Prendergast says Wellington should be very proud of.
The Dunedin campaign has focused on uniting the local community and have shown that they truly are a ‘thinking person’s place’ by leading the way in raising the profile of fair trade. Dunedin is proud to have 11 Fair Trade Schools with an active youth movement, local consumers have supported the campaign by buying more fair trade goods which has translated into a 25% increase in sales at the local Trade Aid shop and faith groups have embraced the fair trade movement.
Karla Boluk, Chair of the Dunedin Steering Committee says: “The campaign has enabled us to build our own community networks, engaging people who had never been involved in something like this before. We are amazed that we have stimulated interest in a variety of Dunedin businesses, as well as encouraging a cohort of young people to participate once they began to understand the benefits of fair trade. It has been hard work but we know we are participating in a worthwhile movement that has widespread benefits.”
Both cities have been working over the last 18 months to achieve Fair Trade City status and have seen some great successes which culminated in both City Councils unanimously passing a Resolution of Support.
The Dunedin declaration is backed by Mayor Peter Chin who said today: “I’m proud my Council is again showing leadership to the rest of country and hope that Dunedin will become part of a wider network of Fair Trade Cities across New Zealand as other cities move to adopt fair trade principles.”
New Zealand is now part of a global movement which has more than 500 Fair Trade Towns and Cities across the world including London, Rome, Edinburgh and San Francisco. Wellington and Dunedin have now paved the way for other towns and cities around the country to follow their example and put people not profit at the heart of their communities.