Volume 19, Issue 2 – Barrett

SUSTAINABILITY, CITIES AND SUBNATIONAL TAXATION: AN ANALYSIS OF AUCKLAND AND BRISBANE

By Jonathan Barrett

Abstract

Treaties on environmental sustainability are concluded between nation states but, faced with the domestic political realities of taxing or otherwise acting against the short-term interests of voters, national governments often engage unwillingly with their international obligations. The Trump administration’s resiling from the Paris Agreement on climate change is an egregious example of flouting of national obligations but Australia and New Zealand have also been slow to give effect to their promises to reduce carbon omissions. Conversely, political subdivisions, including cities, can make their own distinct contributions to sustainability through various measures, including taxes. Megacities, such as London and Sydney, are sufficiently large to have the potential to engage with climate change in ways comparable to many countries. Smaller cities, including Auckland and Brisbane, can also make a contribution to sustainability. Focusing on the use of subnational taxes, this article considers whether, in practice, they do.

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