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'Buy Local' Bouquets And Brickbats To Councils

26 August 2001
Greens Award 'Buy Local' Bouquets And Brickbats To Councils

The Green Party has launched its 'Councils should buy local' campaign today with bouquets and brickbats for New Zealand's local bodies.

The campaign to encourage councils to 'walk the talk' of local economy development was unveiled by Green Party MPs Sue Bradford and Rod Donald in Christchurch, one of the cities the Party says has a 'best practice' policy to support local businesses.

"Most councils recognize that as well as providing services they must take a leadership role to boost their local economy and strengthen the social fabric of their community. We are simply urging those councils which don't actively back local businesses to accept the positive local purchasing policies of those that do," Mr Donald said.

In March 2001, Mr Donald wrote to all city, district and regional councils asking if each council had a buy local purchasing policy or actively supported local suppliers and New Zealand-made goods. The results of the Greens research were released today: out of the 91 councils written to, 75 replied. Of these ten councils have formal buy local policy and 54 councils said they try to buy local and/or would consider adopting formal buy local policy . "Christchurch, Dunedin, North Shore, Invercargill, Buller, Timaru, Gore and South Waikato councils have been awarded bouquets for having the best local purchasing policies," said Mr Donald.

"Councils which explicitly rejected procurement policies designed to support local business -: Auckland City, Ashburton, Hamilton, Opotiki, Tasman - deserved brickbats," he said.

The Green Party's "Councils should buy local" campaign - timed for the local body elections - urges councils and candidates to support policies to buy goods and services from their own areas, and to spurn Government pressure to give equal priority to Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia as part of its free trade agenda.

"Our councils buy goods and services, from roads to rubbish removal, from printing to park maintance. Buying those goods and services from local firms, keeps local people in work. People in work stay in their community, contribute to it, and pay their rates - which can be therefore spent on supplying more local goods and services.

"How councils spend our rates therefore makes a big difference to how well off we are. It's important to lobby councils to have positive buy local policies, and to back candidates who support them," he said.

At the launch Sue Bradford and Rod Donald released the first campaign resource kit designed to promote local control of local economies. The kit includes the best councils' purchasing policies ,the full survey results of every council position, a background paper on benefits of local and fair trade, and disadvantages of free trade and advice how to lobby councils and candidates.

Ends

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