Auckland becomes Fair Trade city

Auckland has become New Zealand's third official Fair Trade city, joining Wellington and Dunedin.

There are now more than 300 Fair Trade businesses throughout Auckland and Fair Trade campaigner Sam Drumm says that means Auckland finally has the numbers.

The Aucklander met Drumm in December when Auckland had 240 Fair Trade businesses and at the time Drumm, and his team of five staff plus 15 volunteers, were working hard on their Make Auckland Fairtrade (MAFT) campaign, aiming to line up 280 Fair Traders.

Auckland mayor Len Brown will will launch Auckland's status as a Fair Trade City today, joining a network of 1000 towns and cities around the world. He will make the official announcement and be presented with a certificate by Papua New Guinea Fairtrade coffee farmer, Michael Toliman at a special event at Auckland City Library at 10am.

Mr Brown says the move is a good one.

"We have a great sense of what's fair in New Zealand, and offering a fair deal to farmers and workers in developing countries is something that more and more businesses and individuals in Auckland are very keen to do," he said.

Len Brown says Auckland Council will play its part through measures such as using Fairtrade Certified coffee and tea at its offices and at meetings.

The news comes just ahead of Fair Trade Fortnight running from May 5-20.

Auckland had to fulfil five criteria set out by the Fair Trade Association of Australia & New Zealand, all of which have now been achieved.

Fairtrade steering group representing different sectors is formed to co-ordinate action around the goals and develop them over the years.

Fairtrade ANZ CEO Stephen Knapp said in a statement that New Zealand was one of the world's fastest growing markets for Fairtrade Certified products, with sales growing by 24 per cent to reach $45.4 million last year despite the economic downturn.

"And with Auckland now an active Fair Trade City, these numbers are only set to increase, benefiting even more farmers in developing countries around the world, including some of our Pacific neighbours."

Drumm says he is delighted Auckland has finally been awarded Fair Trade status and believes that all Aucklanders have a part to play in creating a fair system.

"Fair trade is a serious issue, and it's everyone's responsibility. Lots of things in life aren't fair, but trade can be if we all work together and make our choices count. Every year Kiwis, sometimes without even knowing it, are helping put millions back into co-operative farmer groups in developing countries just by picking up a bunch of bananas, a bag of coffee, a t-shirt or a bar of chocolate that has one simple green and blue label on it - Fairtrade."

WEB Fair Trade Auckland

- The Aucklander

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