Public participation in the Auckland Climate Action Framework

These comments are mainly from the angle of public engagement, both in the drafting of the Climate Action Framework, and what the framework proposes as the plan rolls on. My thoughts are that, without meaningful public engagement in both decision making and in the roll-out of any actions, failure of political will and of public support are highly likely.

  1. The draft CAF makes several mentions of the symposium which was held and the subsequent meeting or rangatahi during the drafting of the framework. There is no indication of how the participants in these two events were chosen, nor of what was said/decided at them. This total lack of transparency is unfortunately typical. The Council simply cherry picks, and gives no indication of what or why it has chosen.

  1. Key Move 1: any mention of the Council’s proposals for public engagement in the future comes under this Key Move. There are generalisations such as “working together” and “all Aucklanders have a voice” but no real proposals for upping the standard of the usual methods for soliciting “feedback”. Effective public input would need to demonstrate:

  • inclusiveness

  • a real degree of popular control to incentivise participation

  • facilitation of considered judgement instead of off the cuff isolated opinion

  • transparency of the process, both internal and external

  • reasonable efficiency (cost)

  1. On p.52, under Progress and Indicators, there is nothing measuring public engagement or participation. And on p.63 there seems to be no serious engagement with the public at large.

  2. It is notable that the Climate Independent Advisory Group contained nobody with expertise in public engagement.

  3. Full Action List: this list, on a series of un-numbered pages following p.70, make it clear that the Council only wants to engage with:

  • the Climate Leaders Coalition

  • rangatahi

  • mana whenua

  • community leaders

  • advisory panels

  1. In view of the fact that the Council clearly signals that it has no intention of meaningful engagement with the public at large, XR’s third demand, taking it that this is still the implementation of a Citizens’ Assembly with participants chosen by lot, remains important and deserves the kind of long term advocacy and lobbying which will be necessary. Now is a good time for this, with local elections coming up and the list of candidates coming out on 21 August.

Auckland’s Climate Action Framework

This document is now out, with submissions able to be made up to 8 pm on Friday 6 September.

The document can be looked at online, or downloaded as a pfd from https://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/have-your-say/topics-you-can-have-your-say-on/auckland-climate-action-framework/Pages/default.aspx?fbclid=IwAR2k9EUY-K1RQPTm3Q17WfwmAGzzcjLFLHwOXi7SsK7MkclBQe8-LghTMks

Copies should also be available at libraries and local board offices.

Guide to Citizens’ Assemblies

The UK Extinction Rebellion has just published The Extinction Rebellion Guide to Citizens’ Assemblies https://rebellion.earth/wp/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/The-Extinction-Rebellion-Guide-to-Citizens-Assemblies-Version-1.1-25-June-2019.pdf which was drafted by their Citizens’ Assemblies Working Group. It’s a great read. XR here could build on it. It’s a pdf document and available to be downloaded. I will bring along a copy to the Working Group meeting on June 29, and also the flyer which XR UK have produced.

Taxing capital kicked down the road – yet again

Reforming our messy and partial taxation of capital and capital gains once more proved too hard for our representative democracy, in the possibly erroneous belief that there is insufficient support from the wider public. Could this be because, as with standard processes of “consultation” through submissions the feedback is biassed towards those with the means, time and experience to make submissions, namely the confident and well off owners of property. Put the thing the other way around: first ask the public, through a properly constituted citizens’ assembly, listening to the experts, what kind of tax system looks fair and effective to them, and then draw up your policy already knowing what is supported.  Howabout it?

AK Have Your Say

Well, I have filled in my feedback online for the annual budget and long term water thinking. I have taken every opportunity to urge the Council to try using citizens’ assemblies. They would be better than this kind of tick-box feedback which does not facilitate deliberative recommendations. The current methods of feedback are mostly AFTER the event in that Council already has formulated its ideas instead of seeking widely representative thoughts from the ratepayers through sortition BEFORE. Pro-active consultation not retro-active, which it is easy to suspect is fake in that the Council’s mind is already made up.