Te tōkeke me te huringa o te āhuarangi

Equity and climate change

​Auckland is a founding signatory of C40 Cities’ Global Green New Deal, an initiative that reinforces the equity principles within the Auckland Plan, our Climate Emergency declaration and our collaborative approach to the development of this plan.

The core of this initiative is a commitment to create thriving and fair communities for everyone with inclusive, equitable climate action at the centre of all decision making.

An illustration of the difference between equality and equity showing people standing on platforms to watch a game over a fence.

Equity refers to whether the distribution of impacts, both benefits and costs, is fair and appropriate – considering that people have different starts in life and different needs.

Equality treats everyone the same, but equity acknowledges the different needs people have and ensuring that everyone has what they need to succeed.

Climate change is a social issue

Climate change is not only an environmental issue. It is also a deeply social issue, with significant implications for those that are most vulnerable.

As climate impacts increase, society faces the prospect of exacerbating existing poverty and inequality. Climate change may become the biggest human rights challenge of the 21st century.

There are many different areas of equity that need to be considered in the context of climate change:

  • socio-economic differences (e.g. household income)
  • where people live
  • the access people have to services and workplaces
  • differences in people’s jobs (e.g. whether the job is indoors or outdoors)
  • differences in accessibility needs.

Climate change also creates intergenerational inequity. If we do not act, we risk leaving a significantly different and less habitable world to our children and our children's children.

Equity, fairness, and climate change through a Te Ao Māori lens

From a Te Ao Māori perspective, we need to consider equity and fairness from the perspective of nature, place and people. Recognising the rights and interests of nature, place and people from a whole living systems perspective is critical.

Mana whenua have used the term taurite, that speaks to the reciprocal obligations and responsibilities of restoring and maintaining balance and harmony of those symbiotic-whakapapa relationships between, nature, people and place, including past, present and future generations.

At a human level, it is also about addressing issues of equity and equality for Māori and in particular tamariki, rangatahi and whānau hauā. The outcomes are that Māori experience equity and equality in the enjoyment of all benefits of living in Tāmaki Makaurau, including the benefits of being citizens of Aotearoa New Zealand.

In practice, this means that both the Crown and Auckland Council need to actively protect and reduce disparities between Māori and non-Māori. This includes acknowledging, confronting and addressing institutional/ systemic racism.

It means that the council needs to ensure it addresses the inequality of the capability and capacity of mana whenua to practically express their kaitiakitanga obligations and responsibilities across Tāmaki Makaurau. The council also needs to ensure that Māori communities effectively respond and participate in the council decision-making processes.

How we are addressing equity in our plan

There are clear risks to equity that we need to address, and some actions may produce inequitable outcomes.

Equity issues need to be clearly identified, assessed and made transparent as part of any decision-making process.

We have applied an equity lens throughout the plan, considering the implications of our actions on all Aucklanders and making sure that we are not leaving anyone behind in our transition to a zero carbon and climate resilient region.

This plan also has the potential to create a much fairer and vibrant Auckland through well designed actions of Auckland Council, central government, business, Māori, and communities all working together.