Who could not want Auckland to be a city of peace?

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By Greg Presland

The Herald reported recently about a rather violent argument within a recent Regional Development and Operational Committee meeting.  Well known peace activist Laurie Ross and a couple of young children came to the meeting urging the Council to become a city of peace.  Their request was met with bickering and petty point scoring which reflects poorly on those involved.

Recently elected Councillor Dick Quax was prominent.  His name is instantly recognisable, he was a well known middle distance runner back in the 1970s.  He obviously thinks that this converts into the ability to run the largest city in the country but the skill mix required is much greater than this.  In a rare display of complete insensitivity he described the proposal as a “boondoggle – doing useless and unnecessary work”.

But the proposal has exceptionally strong symbolic characteristics.  The anti nuclear movement started after Hiroshima and Nagasaki were nuked at the end of the second world war.  On June 24, 1982, the Mayor of Hiroshima announced a ‘Programme to Promote Solidarity of Cities Toward the Total Abolition of Nuclear Weapons’ at the 2nd Special Session on Disarmament held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.  The Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki issued a joint call to cities everywhere to support the programme.

It is not as if it is a new proposal, Waitakere, North Shore and Auckland cities had already declared themselves to be cities for peace.

The implications are symbolic, some extra civic events, work on the website and an Auckland Heritage Peace Walk.  There could be assistance for cultural events, planting of trees and support for local anti violence groups.

To fund it there was an existing budget of $40,000 that could be used, 3c for every inhabitant in Auckland.

Admittedly the benefits are hard to measure.  But it means that if there is one less fight in ten years that causes one young person not to suffer injury requiring long term care then in financial terms the programme is successful.

And as a statement of what we want our city to be what is wrong with it?

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