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David works in commercial litigation at a large New Zealand law firm. He graduated from the University of Auckland in 2009 with conjoint bachelors degrees in law and arts, completing his honours dissertation in law on New Zealand’s emissions trading scheme under Professor Klaus Bosselmann. In arts, he double-majored in politics and philosophy. In 2008, he was a senior editor of the Auckland University Law Review. While at University, he worked as a research assistant to Peter Sankoff, and attended the ‘Animal Law in Australia: A New Dialogue’ symposium in Brisbane in 2008. He tutored law from 2008-2010. He worked from 2009-2010 as a judges’ clerk at the Auckland High Court.
He is passionate about ecological issues and animal rights. He has been vegan since 2004. He is a keen cyclist (completing the 2011 Rotorua to Taupo 100k Flyer with an average speed of 30.6km/hr and two training rides) and a hiker (having completed the Oxfam Trailwalker four times, twice with Team Vegan), justifying exercise on the sole ground that it lets him eat more delicious food.
In addition to ecological issues, he is committed to social justice and youth empowerment. He was involved in the UN Youth from 2003 until early 2011, and in 2010 received the Wysocki-Bates Award for outstanding contribution to youth involvement in the UN. He is also a trustee of the P3 Foundation, a charitable trust dedicated to mobilising young New Zealanders against poverty.
He also drinks enough coffee daily to kill your average man and subscribes to far too many blogs, receiving around 200 RSS updates per day (in fairness, about 60 of those come from the Guardian alone).
Vernon was a founding member and 2009 President of the Society of Legal Vegans, the club at the University of Auckland Law School that is the genesis of this blog.
He holds a Master of Laws degree with First Class Honours from the University of Auckland, authoring a thesis entitled: Resisting Enclosure: The emergence of an ethno-ecological governance in a comparative analysis of the constitutions of Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia.
This and other work earned him the Fowlds Memorial Prize for Most Distinguished Masters Student in Law, 2010.
He now works at the University of Auckland as a sessional lecturer and tutor at the School of Planning and Architecture, and tutor in Jurisprudence at the Faculty of Law. He has been a Research Fellow at the New Zealand Centre for Environmental Law since 2009.
In 2011, he was a national Co-Convenor of the Young Greens of the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand and stood as the Green Party Candidate for Northcote in the 2011 General Election. He is currently serving as the Party’s Auckland Province Co-Convenor.
Vernon has long had an interest in environmental issues. In 2007, he was a member of the Executive of the Long Bay-Okura Great Park Society which fought inappropriate development of the Long Bay Regional Park through the Environment Court.
His passion for animal welfare and rights has seen him speak regularly around Auckland and New Zealand on the treatment of animals under the law. His current focus is on exposing the role of welfare code regulations under the Animal Welfare Act 1999 in legitimising the suffering of farmed animals in contravention of the Act on the grounds of ‘economic necessity’.
Vernon sees veganism as a logical corollary of being an environmentalist from both an ethical and practical perspective. For this reason, he is particularly interested in highlighting the unity of moral concern between human animals, non-human animals and ecosystems. His current research interests are centred on articulating a theory and practice of law that is equally inclusive and representative of the interests of all elements of nature.
Three other people regularly wrote for the Solution 1.0:
While Peter, Ed, and James no longer regularly contribute to the Solution 2.0, we hope that they will post when their busy schedules and frequent travels allow.