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Speech: Katene - Moderated Emissions Trading

Climate Change Response (Moderated Emissions Trading) Amendment Bill
24 November 2009
Rahui Katene, MP for Te Tai Tonga


May I say it is a joy to work with a party which is not tied down in Hide-bound ideas.

In speaking to the announcement made yesterday of the proposals to reduce emissions in order to meet the Kyoto Protocol, Ngai Tahu kaiwhakahaere Mark Solomon made a key statement.

He said “It is a day where the ledger is made even".

Mr Solomon was referring to the fact that relevant information was withheld from Ngai Tahu when they bought forestry land for conversion to farming.

Ngai Tahu’s case was that the Crown did not meet its information disclosure requirements of their Treaty settlement in respect of the likely impact of an ETS on pre 1990 forest land. Similar issues were raised by Waikato-Tainui; Te Uri o Hau; Ngati Awa and Ngati Tuwharetoa

And so yesterday’s announcements made the ledger even, in that it covers the costs of the loss the iwi will experience under the scheme.

It was an announcement that recognized the constructive engagement that has taken place between the iwi and the Crown, to try to address a situation in which they had been unknowingly disadvantaged

It was an announcement that reflected the generosity of spirit entered into between the Crown and the Treaty Partner.

The question of balance is an appropriate one to be considering as we debate this Bill today.

The Maori Party has worked relentlessly to try to achieve outcomes which can work in the best interests of the nation.

As a nation dependent on a favourable climate for our heavy involvement in primary production, climate change represents a significant risk to the quality of our every day life.

Climate change will have profound implications for Aotearoa over the long terms, and potentially significant levels of costs.

So there is no dispute - collective responsibility for environmental and social outcomes is the only way to respond to climate change.

The way in which we have been able to mobilize this collective effort is through compliance with the targets of the Kyoto Protocol.

We know that there is no single piece of legislation which can be the catch-all comprehensive answer to climate change, 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.

But what is so important about this Bill is that it aims to reduce the total greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging all New Zealanders to take responsibility.

We have all known that New Zealand's emissions are increasing, with greenhouse gas emissions in 2007 about 22% higher than they were in 1990. In fact, if we did nothing at all to reduce our emissions, our total emissions could total well over 30% by 2012.

The Maori Party believes that it is high time that we as a nation stopped the years of lobbying Parliament on how the emissions trading scheme should be structured, and focused on the real challenge of addressing our collective responsibilities for carbon emissions.

The Māori Party is standing up for four outcomes that we believe are in the best interests of our people and the nation; our whānau, our whenua, the Treaty of Waitangi and the Māori economy.
And I want to raise a concern around the criticism that the Leader of the Opposition has been suggesting that the so-called special treatment to some tribes will little to help Maori households.

Lest I point out the obvious, hapu and iwi are built upon the very foundations of whanau – there can be no iwi without whanau. The key stakeholders for Te Runanga o Ngati Porou, for example, are the descendants of Porourangi.

And as a descendant of Kai Tahu I remind the House that the broad mission of Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu is to promote and enhance the social, cultural and economic wellbeing of Ngai Tahu Whanui.

So when Mr Goff talks about preferential treatment or special deals for iwi he needs to be very careful that he knows what he is talking about.

It has been very clear to us that paramount in the concerns of the iwi leadership has been the need to support Maori households.

I read this morning the views of Rawiri Te Whare, general manager of Te Pumautanga o Te Arawa.

In referring to the attempts of some politicians to polarize the issue as a race-based one, Rawiri Te Whare said, and I quote directly

“The criticism is unhelpful and simplifies what is actually a complex issue.

Iwi leaders do not seek special treatment for Maori, we are seeking fairness on a proposal that will have a disproportionate impact on our businesses – and therefore our ability to assist to lift the social, cultural and economic aspirations of our people”.

The question of fairness, of balance, has been uppermost on our minds as we tried to negotiate concessions which would support our more vulnerable families along with our fledging iwi enterprises in fishing, farming and forestry.

A key win for all our whānau, and all lower income households, is that they will be better supported to insulate their homes to decrease the cost of electricity. We also know that warmer homes means better health outcomes and a better quality of life. Insulation leads to lower power costs and better health

Our priority was to ensure that the funding available gets to those homes most in need. And so we are really thrilled that the new money – the additional $24 million we were able to negotiate – will mean that there will be an extra 2000 houses of Community Service Card holders insulated every year from now up to 2013.

We pushed hard for this – as well as halving petrol and power prices – in order to cushion the blow on low income families.

A major emphasis for the Maori Party was on doing all that we could to ensure our whenua will be sustainable and healthy for our mokopuna.

The package includes a range of environmental outcomes, from working with iwi to invest in indigenous forestry and recognising the importance of biodiversity to all people so that future generations inherit a country that is a better version of the clean, green Aotearoa than the one we inhabit today.

Our negotiations have been critical in recognizing that iwi are the key drivers behind the Maori economy, which contributes some 16 billion dollars to the economy of this nation.

It is our view that any legislation passed in this country must support the Māori economy to reach its full potential. Our people are heavily involved in fishing, farming and forestry, all of which are affected by the scheme. We worked hard to make sure that our people’s businesses are not the hardest hit by the scheme, so that the outcomes are fair and our economy can grow.

And finally, I want to bring to the House the significance of the Treaty of Waitangi to this debate.

We entered negotiations, understanding that the Treaty must be provided for in the scheme so that it is fair for our people, no matter what future changes get made along the way and so that Treaty settlements are respected.

The Treaty is about joint responsibility and working together, and this Bill reflects our role in responding to the shared challenge of climate change. The agreement allows for more Crown/iwi partnerships in tree planting on conservation and Maori land. It makes a commitment to the Treaty relationship through the highest level of input on agricultural, forestry and fishing issues. And to this end, I will be tabling a very important amendment during the committee stage, to ensure the ETS gives effect to Treaty principles.

Mr Speaker, the scheme isn’t perfect by any means. But we believe it balances the concerns of whanau and businesses with the need to ensure we protect our environment for future generations.

Ultimately it is those mokopuna that we must think of as we make our vote today.

ENDS

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