Auckland Council Leads With Human Rights Standards For Goods And Service Providers
Uyghur Solidarity Aotearoa New Zealand are proud of Auckland City councillors for their unanimous vote yesterday at Auckland Council’s Finance & Performance Committee in amending the Group Procurement Policy, to ensure it requires all goods and services providers to comply with international standards of human rights, and relevant labour laws, across the whole of their supply chain.
“We contacted Auckland city councillors with our concerns about the forced labour of Uyghurs, a persecuted ethnicity in North West China, potentially being used to make Auckland’s new electric buses. We are pleased with Auckland Council's proactive and principled response, changing council policy to make sure that all further purchases for the public of Auckland are ethically sourced.” Said Eliana Darroch of Uyghur Solidarity Aotearoa NZ
“Auckland Council is leading with progressive human rights based decision making, exemplifying the way for councils and decision makers around the country.”
“Auckland Council have set a standard of ethical procurement, with imports being in alignment international standards of human rights and workers’ rights, throughout production.”
“New Zealanders don’t want to be causing suffering for people overseas, we don’t want to contribute to modern slavery, we want to receive goods which are made fairly.”
“We really believe that our imports must be ethical. The Government has the power and responsibility to prevent the importation of products implicated in human rights abuses, such as those in Xinjiang and linked to Uyghur forced labour. This is a positive way New Zealand help stop contributing to Uyghur oppression.”
“The situation for the Uyghurs in China is terrible. By not purchasing products made through Uyghur forced labour we are exercising our values of dignity and human rights.”
Auckland Councillors recently received confirmation from Auckland Transport’s Decarbonisation Manager that some of the Auckland's new fleet of electric buses were intended to be purchased from CRRC, a Chinese state-owned and publicly traded rolling stock manufacturer.
Late last month Auckland city councillors wrote to Auckland Transport requesting it monitor the outcome of Wellington City Council’s bus investigation into their involvement with China Rail Construction Company, review Auckland Transport’s involvement with CRRC unless it can be proven that no links to forced labour exist, and commit to a more robust process to ensure there is no future involvement with companies using unethical practices.
"We appreciate the concern shown by Auckland City councillors and await the response from Auckland Transport about the intended new buses, to find out if they have been made with Uyghur forced labour, and whether the purchase would go ahead or not” Said Darroch
We are grateful for the work being done by other organisations such as Trade Aid and World Vision, with their petition urging the New Zealand Government to pass a Modern Slavery Act, which has gained over 18,000 signatures thus far and will be presented to Parliament on the 29th of June.