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NZ Maori Council Backs ZERO Carbon Bill

The New Zealand Maori Council has come out in support of the Governments much anticipated Zero Carbon Bill and has welcomed a focus on the future when it comes to climate change. Seven months ago, the Council established a national taskforce on climate change and environment led by Environmental advocate Roimata Minhinnick, charged with looking at the role of Maori and Te Ao Maori when it came to prevention, mitigation and adaption. Council has also supported the call from Iwi Chairs Leader, Mike Smith, for greater detail around the implementation phase:

“New Zealand Maori Council has been working alongside the Government and other stakeholders over the course of the last few months to further refine the legislation that has been brought to the floor of the Parliament and we are committed to ensure that it is further strengthened during the select committee process. We very much agree with Mike Smith that we need a strong focus on the implementation side of the legislation.” Council Executive Director Matthew Tukaki has said.

Roimata Minhinnick has also said that there is more to do be done during the implementation phase of the legislation and outlined some of the key issues Maori Council had going into the discussions:

“We needed to ensure that when it came to zero carbon that we took an approach that engaged and involved Maori and Maori communities from the start. Given Maori roles as kaitiaki across the whenua the impacts of climate change are mostly felt by Maori communities. In our coastal areas the encroaching and increasing frequency of king tides means we need mitigation and adaption strategies in place for our Marae, wahi tapu, kainga and taonga throughout the motu while at the same time we need to be mindful about the economic impact if we see an increase in the cost of living bought about by cost obligations on the economy.” Minhinnick said

“We also need to ensure that Maori not only have a say, but a representative voice because, at the end of the day, it’s not enough to welcome this piece of legislation with the urgency it deserves, it’s in the implementation that we will see the real grunt work. That is the why we pushed to ensure Te Ao Maori features heavily in the skills of those being appointed onto the Climate Commission but also we go further by having a specific voice at that table.” Minhinnick said

Matthew Tukaki reiterated Minhinnicks point about the economic impacts:

“Whatever happens when it comes to mitigation, prevention and adaption we need to be mindful of the impact on household budgets but we also need to ensure our Maori communities better understand what the pass through of potential costs might mean as well as the opportunity when it comes to carbon management and credits. But; we also need to ensure that there is tighter co-ordination and modelling across agencies, local Government and Crown entities to ensure that, when it comes to Maori, the left hand knows what the right hand is doing.” Tukaki said

“That is why we want to see the return of greater investment into program based and community based initiatives with a specific focus on our regions, greater investment into research and the building of evidence based frameworks, the return of better co-ordination around Maori Crown research such as the old DSIR model and so on.” Tukaki said

Mr. Minhinnick said ”these were times where we must again unite to address this challenge, to see where we can add value and create the space or opportunity to deliver on tamariki and mokopuna expectations to actually change our climate before it’s too late…Consistent with respecting and giving effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, we have a chance to ensure that we, as a nation and as a people, are doing all we can to secure the future of our environment, culture, our communities and our people – and while we have a long way to go every journey of this magnitude begins with a few small steps in the right direction and collectively building on that momentum without delay.”


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