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The contents of the candidate profile have been provided by the candidate to express their views and is intended to help inform voters. The information in the profile does not necessarily reflect Auckland Council's views or policies.
Photograph of Michael MORRIS.

Michael MORRIS

Mayoral candidate

Animal Justice Auckland

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Photograph of Michael MORRIS.

Candidate profile statement

My principal place of residence is in the Auckland Council area. I am also standing for the Ōtara-Papatoetoe Local Board (Papatoetoe Subdivision).

Kia ora koutou.

I am a policy adviser, scientist, teacher and vegan for the animals.

I am the only candidate representing the underclass; tormented, mutilated and cruelly slaughtered in their billions.

I also stand for environmental justice, and justice for financially disadvantaged humans. All are related.

Environmental damage disproportionally affects animals as we saw in the Australian bush fires. Animal agriculture contributes to climate change, pandemics, food insecurity and habitat destruction.

Social ills, including environmental damage and animal consumption, are worse in unequal societies. Income equality benefits all.

Policies include; free and comprehensive public transport, plant-based council functions, no lethal animal management, phasing out animal farming, no rodeo or animal racing on council property, preserving trees and biodiversity. A living wage for council staff, including contractors.

Changes to be funded by capping salaries (including my own), selling unnecessary council assets for (sustainable) development, and developer levies. No rate rises.

About me

I came to New Zealand from the UK in 1974. I went to Auckland Grammar and Auckland University, and gained a PhD in zoology.

I became vegetarian in 1984, and then vegan in 2003. I was triggered by a realisation about our double standards towards animals. We always treated our cats like part of the family. How did it make sense to cause death and suffering to other animals who were no less intelligent or emotional than our pets?

I have worked in environmental policy, scientific research and university teaching. I taught environmental science and ecology at senior lecturer level in universities and polytechnics in Japan, China and New Zealand. I am presently working as a researcher in the field of public health, and teaching children about science.

I started a tertiary education business and gained City & Guilds accreditation for Environmental Awareness courses. I wanted to teach students who were too busy or too poor to afford the expensive polytechnic and university courses. Unfortunately we were squeezed out by the major players and had to abandon the business. This has given me an insight into the problems facing small business in a world where the playing field is uneven.

If elected I can bring a keen, critical and scientific mind to the position. Nobody expects a mayor to be expert in everything. But they should have sufficient ability to know which advice to trust, what is backed up by evidence, and what is spin.

During this campaign, I have shown that am a team player. I gathered support from 4 other less high-profile candidates. We worked together to raise our collective profiles and get more media exposure. Democracy is important, and all candidates need a voice.

I deplore the ugly name-calling in this campaign. We have different visions for Auckland, but we should be able to debate these in a civil manner. If elected I will work together to exchange ideas and gain consensus. Adversarial politics and personal attacks do not achieve anything

Why I want to be elected

My motivation to stand for Mayor of Auckland is to provide a voice for those who have been totally ignored by all other candidates and political parties. I am referring to the 150 million land animals and approx. 600 million sea creatures killed each year in New Zealand. More creatures per year than every human killed in every conflict in the 20th century.

The science has been clear for 20 years. Nobody needs to eat animals to stay healthy. Quite the contrary. Recent research has confirmed that a plant-based economy would save billions in the health budget and improve longevity and quality of life.

My other concern is environmental justice. We have a climate ‘emergency’. We need to act now, instead of endlessly dithering. Helping the climate will also help animals and vulnerable humans. In any environmental crisis, such as the Australian bush fires, the extreme air pollution I experienced in China, and the COVID-19 pandemic, it is animals and disadvantaged humans who suffer the most.

I am concerned about the widening gap between the rich and poor. Research has shown that every social ill (including abortion, teen pregnancy, obesity, mental illness, environmental damage, substance abuse and crime), lessens in more equal societies. My own research has shown that this also applies to treatment of animals. More equal societies consume fewer animals and treat them better.

I am using the mayoral campaign to raise awareness for animal issues and as a springboard for an Animal Justice Party NZ, which will contest the 2023 election.

I stand for a plant-based economy, free and comprehensive public transport, an end to agricultural intensification, compassionate conservation, income equality, preservation and extension of green areas and an Auckland that can be enjoyed by all, human and non-human.

What I love most about the area I want to represent

I love the diversity of this city.

I live in Papatoetoe, which has a strong Indian community and a number of supermarkets providing Indian goods. The other side of the Motorway is Ōtara with its market and vibrant Pacific community. I previously lived in Panmure, with its Chinese community and local businesses. Prior to that I had a studio apartment in Nelson Street. I liked being close to the fine vegan restaurants of the central city and its environs.

I also love the natural environment. Auckland is situated between two harbours. It enjoys estuarine and environments, and well-preserved forested areas such as the Waitakere and Hunua Ranges. It has places such as Ihumatao and the volcanic cones that combine nature with culture.

I grew up in Auckland in the 70s, 80s and 90s. Later I left and returned. I have been impressed with the way the city transformed from one based on the private motor car to one with more comprehensive public transport and a series of well-use cycle paths. The mudguard-to-mudguard traffic jams in the city centre made me think I was back in Beijing or Tokyo!

If elected I intend to complete the transformation of Auckland to a place where everyone can get around. Public transport and provision for cycling and walking in some areas such as South Auckland certainly needs to catch up with the rest of the city.

What I think about key issues for Auckland

Choose a campaign topic to read the candidate's views on it.

What I will prioritise if I am elected

My priorities are always non-human animals. This is because no other candidate or political party has taken their interests seriously.

I will sign Auckland up to the Plant Based Treaty. This aims to shift food production priorities towards plant-based, for animals and planet. The town of Haywards Heath has already signed up. Oxfordshire council has committed to serve only healthy vegan food to schools. In New Zealand, the Bay of Plenty Regional Council have committed to only plant-based food being served at council meetings.

My other priorities are the climate emergency and reducing inequality. Auckland also has a congestion and a housing crisis. These can all be addressed through our policies on public transport, walking and cycling, housing, and preservation of green space.

I support free and comprehensive public transport, safer bike lanes, repairing footpaths so people can walk on them, and more controlled crossings. Intensification will allow people to live near their work and public transport hubs, and provide more housing.

I will preserve green and character areas and increase tree protection. The council could sell or lease low-biodiversity, low cultural diversity land such as car parks to fund our policies and for use as housing. The Old Papatoetoe development plan provides an example of this.

I will continue the preferential procurement policies of council so that money stays within the local economy. Research has shown that this save money in the long term.

I will continue the present policy of ensuring that all council workers – including contractors – have at least a living wage. This can be funded by reducing waste at the top. Fewer executives, more front-line staff, and a cap on salaries (including the mayor’s salary). This will ensure we have people who want to work for our city, not for money.

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