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The Plant Based Treaty


Claire Insley, media spokesperson for the Vegan Society of Aotearoa New Zealand, outlines the organisation’s latest challenge to power — calling on Ōtepoti Dunedin to become the country’s first adopter of the transformational Plant Based Treaty. 

The Vegan Society of Aotearoa New Zealand has been an endorser of the international Plant Based Treaty (PBT) shortly after it first came out, and with our recent challenge to Ōtepoti Dunedin to endorse the Treaty, we became a collaborator too. What is the Plant Based Treaty? It is a set of 38 proposals under three different headings, all showing steps towards a plant-based society. It can be endorsed by individuals, cities, councils, businesses, organisations, etc. It is a grassroots plan of action to create a plant-based world.

We chose to challenge Dunedin, as their sister city of Edinburgh had recently endorsed the Treaty in January. We felt it was an ideal opportunity for Ōtepoti to become the first Australasian city to endorse the Treaty — what a great coup for the city. The City Council has committed to a goal of Carbon Zero by 2030, so endorsing the Treaty and committing to as many of the 38 proposals as is applicable would help them to attain this goal and show their residents that they can keep a promise. 

The same is true of any city that endorses the PBT. They decide which of the proposals they can commit to and actively ensure they carry it out. Councils often need encouragement from their residents in order to make such plans. Attending council meetings and submitting it to Dunedin’s Annual Planning Hearings are going to be steps that the Dunedin Ōtepoti Vegan Society will be taking with our help and support. They also plan to hold a public meeting to inform people about what it entails.

The Plant Based Treaty has a team here in Aotearoa too. They are just getting started, and so we are collaborating with them to help Dunedin become our first city to endorse the Treaty. Then they will encourage other cities around the country to endorse it as well. Green councillors will be key to the success of these endorsements, as having them onside to table motions in council meetings or to add votes to any polls will be useful.

As governments continue to be in the pockets of Big Oil and Big Ag, they refuse to act, to bite the hand that feeds them. Meanwhile, their policies drift ever further away from the needs of the ordinary people. The Plant Based Treaty is a step towards self-governance, towards creating the green, sustainable world that our planet so desperately needs. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and UN continue to insist becoming more plant-based is key to the survival of our planet and all who live on our planet. If our leaders do not act, we must.

The really good news is that factory farming of animals can be stopped in a couple of years. Most animals farmed for meat are eaten as babies, so by stopping the forced inseminations, most of the industry is brought to a natural end as the last animals are killed. The Treaty calls for no new farms and slaughterhouses to be built, as part of its 38 proposals. The first set is all about stopping the current paradigm, titled Relinquish (the animal farming). The idea is that endorsers stop the problem increasing, by reducing animal agriculture (to zero).

The second section is Redirect: to eliminate the driving forces behind the problem and therefore start transitioning towards plant-based solutions. There are a whole host of proposals here, many of which are easily doable by any council. The first is to declare a climate emergency, as this gives a continual focus as to why the proposals are being put forward. Many of these goals align with the principles and mission of the Vegan Society of Aotearoa, as well as our demands from the petition we put forward last year.

The third section is Restore,which talks about rewilding and other propositions to heal the Earth, build resilience, and mitigate climate change. Quite simply the Treaty, like our Green Protein Report, is a blueprint of how to rebalance Earth’s systems and restore wildlife habitat. These proposals form part of our survival imperative and give our councils an opportunity to actively do good for not only their own city, but for the entire planet.


Read all about the Vegan Society’s challenge to the Mayor of Dunedin in the News section of its website, And keep an eye on the Society’s activities and calls to action by visiting its website and social media accounts for all the latest information.


Aotearoa Vegan and Plant Based Living Magazine
This article was sourced from the Winter 2023 edition of The Vegan Society magazine.
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The articles we present in our magazine and blog have been written by many authors and are are not necessarily the views and policies of the Vegan Society.

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