Council endorses city food charter

Ruth Zeinert.
Ruth Zeinert.
The Dunedin City Council has endorsed a new food charter for the city, despite questions about whether supermarkets should be sufficient.

The plan was up for discussion at this week's council economic development committee meeting, following an earlier round of public consultation.

The Dunedin food charter aimed to promote greater food resilience in the city, based on the principles food should be ''good for people, good for the city, and good for the planet''.

That included by encouraging a ''food-friendly economy'' that supported food growers, producers, consumers, businesses and entrepreneurs while creating a sustainable food system.

Council food resilience business adviser Ruth Zeinert said the initiative also had economic benefits, such as through its increasingly important place in the city's tourist experience.

The council was looking at ways to enhance that through initiatives such as a new pilot clinic, being launched next month, offering guidance to food-related start-ups or businesses wanting to expand, she said.

Most councillors were enthusiastic about the initiative yesterday, but Cr Lee Vandervis questioned the ''waste of ratepayers' money'' when ''supermarkets are doing a perfectly adequate job, are they not?''.

Ms Zeinert said feedback suggested the community wanted a new approach, centred on more local producers, and Cr Aaron Hawkins also took exception to the argument.

Any suggestion the current model was working well for the community might be true in Roslyn, but not for people queuing for foodbanks in the city, Cr Hawkins said.

''I'm saddened that the needs of all of our community ... can be so flippantly diminished and dismissed by people around this table,'' he said.

Cr Christine Garey, an Otago Peninsula resident, also supported the plan, saying she lived in a community regularly cut off by wild weather, and climate change meant the risk was ''top of mind''.

Committee chairman and deputy mayor Chris Staynes also saw nothing wrong in encouraging food production in Dunedin.

''At any time, a natural disaster could end up with our main food source, which is coming down State Highway 1, being lost.''


"Council food resilience business adviser". You couldn't make it up if you tried.

What a load of rubbish Cr Lee Vandervis question was valid. Cull, Hawkins and Zeinert take a step back and observe the bigger picture, you three could easily fit in to Ronald McDonald shoes very easy. Why are people having to rely on food banks, Would a 7.3% rate increase be a clue, would Culls golden ticket for employment of fast internet and IT be another clue. Would The DCC's decision to invest in certain things that don't return much coin. What about the 3D crossings @ $120,000 or the replacement pipe @ $100,000 at rate payers expense, it all mounts up causes the rates to go up and forces less for people to spend on food.