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Maori Party deal to benefit all

Monday November 23, 2009

Maori Party deal to benefit all

New Zealand's role in global warming and its financial commitments are set to be lowered as a result of the afforestation provision the Maori Party has negotiated with the Government.

"Afforestation is about planting permanent forests and by allowing iwi to do this on Crown land everyone in New Zealand will benefit not just environmentally but in the pocket as well,” the co-leaders Tariana Turia and Dr Pita Sharples said.

“The creation of large-scale permanent forests will breathe new life into an environment that has been taken for granted. And in turn that will reduce the amount of money taxpayers pay to meet this country’s financial obligations under the Kyoto Protocol.”

“Climate change affects us all and while we aspire to have a great economy, we know this must not be done at the expense of the environment,” the co-leaders said.

The afforestation provision will enable iwi to plant permanent forests on Crown land and in return, accrue carbon credits.

In the Maori Party talks with the Government it was also able to get a number of other concessions in exchange for supporting the Climate Change (Moderated Emissions Trading) Amendment Bill when it comes before the House this week.

“We’ve put tireless effort into coming out with a deal that benefits the environment, every taxpayer, vulnerable families and iwi who play a huge role as partners to the Treaty,” the co-leaders said.

The afforestration provision will see several iwi – Ngai Tahu, Ngati Awa, Ngati Tuwharetoa ki Kawerau, Waikato / Tainui and Te Uri o Hau – plant about 35,000 hectares of forests. It will also see the Government work with other iwi to facilitate indigenous planting.

Keeping a focus on vulnerable families:

The Maori Party has managed to cushion the blow on low-income families by halving petrol and power price increases in its negotiations with the Government over the emissions trading scheme.

“We pushed for this because we’re mindful of the impact these increases will have on vulnerable families,” the co-leaders Tariana Turia and Dr Pita Sharples said.

In addition to reducing petrol and power prices, the Maori Party also managed to negotiate an extra $24 million of new money to insulate houses lived in by Community Service Card holders.

“Families living in non-insulated houses not only have higher power bills – they also have higher chances of getting sick, so we are pleased the Government has heard our call on this issue.”

The insulation funding would see an extra 2000 houses of Community Service Card holders insulated every year from now up to 2013.

It is estimated that as a result of the Maori Party concessions on petrol, power and insulation, households will save at least $4 a week.

Keeping a focus on the Treaty:

Brokering a relationship between the Treaty partners has been a key feature in the Maori Party’s negotiations over the emissions trading scheme.

“The negotiations have allowed us to bring together the two Treaty partners (iwi and the Government) so Maori values are not only taken into account in this scheme but this country’s overall legislative approach to addressing climate change issues,” co-leaders Tariana Turia and Dr Pita Sharples said.

“Iwi have told us of their responsibilities to whanau, particularly those of their members on low-incomes, and we welcome their intention, over and above what we’ve already negotiated, to help ease the pressure on those whanau.

“Iwi have also told us of their responsibilities to whenua and we welcome the Government’s decision to allow them to invest in indigenous forestry on Crown-owned land and other projects which recognise the importance of biodiversity.

Iwi are the key drivers behind the Maori economy which contributes billions of dollars to the country’s economy, the co-leaders said.

“The Maori economy and this country’s economy underpin the livelihoods and wellbeing of so many of our whanau, hapu and iwi.

“Forestry, fisheries and agriculture are key drivers for the Maori economy and the iwi groups running them are truly passionate about their role not only as businesses but kaitiaki who have already started to adopt better practices so our future generations inherit rivers, lakes, lands and forests that are clean and healthy.”

Keeping a focus on collective responsibility:

The Maori Party says collective responsibility for environmental and social outcomes is the only way to respond to the bigger picture of climate change.

“No piece of legislation can ever be the whole answer to New Zealand’s response to climate change,” co-leaders Tariana Turia and Dr Pita Sharples said.

“The real answers can only come from people as whanau, communities and enterprises deciding to change how we live and interact with the environment.

“This bill is only a small part of the change that is needed. And it is time we as a nation, as whanau, as iwi focused on the real challenge of addressing our collective responsibilities for carbon emissions.”



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