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Aucklanders' Rates Pay For Project To Convert Meat Eaters To Vegetarianism

The Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance is calling on Auckland Council to stay in its lane and butt out of Aucklanders' dining rooms after it uncovered the council spent nearly $50,000 on a survey to measure how receptive meat-eating households are to converting to vegetarianism.

Earlier this year, a council run project called “Live Lightly” launched an investigation into how susceptible households were to intervention methods surrounding their eating habits. Using a survey related to household food consumption, the team identified a cohort of willing meat-eaters whom they tried to convert to a more plant-based diet through vouchers.

An OIA response reveals the project cost over $46,000 to run, $36,970.00 of which came from purchasing MyFoodBag’s plant power boxes ($123 each in value). It also outlined the criteria for receiving these prizes, which showed that minority groups like vegetarians and vegans were discriminated against as they were ineligible to receive any of the giveaways as they did not meet the requirements.

Ratepayers’ Alliance spokesperson Jordan Williams says:

"The Council's justification that a commitment to the Auckland Climate Change Plan necessitates spending rates on meddling in Aucklanders' diets is laughable. They have strayed so far out of their lane that they can no longer see the road.

"If converting the people of Auckland to vegetarianism is a priority for Auckland Council, they should communicate it to the people who are currently seeing their rates increase.

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"Not only is this a bizarre rabbit hole for the Council to go down, but it is also pointless in that it will do nothing to advance their purported goals. Most red-meat in New Zealand is exported so a marginal reduction in consumption domestically will have almost zero impact on emissions.

"Auckland Council needs to be making savings urgently to prevent a future of astronomical rates rises. It is projects like vegetarian conversion which can immediately get the cut."

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