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Speech: Katene - ETS Third Reading

Emissions Trading Scheme (Moderated Emissions Trading) Amendment Bill
Rahui Katene; MP for Te Tai Tonga: Third reading
Wednesday 25 November 2009; 5.10pm

Mr Speaker yesterday when I spoke on the second reading of the Bill I remarked what a joy it has been to work with the National Party throughout these negotiations.

The Maori Party has been impressed throughout the negotiations by the clear vision of the Minister and the good faith shown by him and the Government.

It has been a blueprint for a mana enhancing relationship.

Mr Speaker, the Māori Party came to this Bill with a clear and comprehensive focus on outcomes, for our whānau, for our whenua, the Treaty and the Māori economy.

It has been a focus that has sustained our strength despite the bitter opposition of others in this House who prefer to rely on the worn-out rhetoric of tired campaigners.

The nation has observed a vitriolic attack against tangata whenua from the surprise new bedfellows, the Labour Party and the Act Party.

We have heard Labour leader Phil Goff describing the scheme as benefiting only a "handful of iwi". David Cunliffe added insult to injury by describing the arrangements as about beads and blankets.

We have heard Shane Jones talking of deceit and treachery; describing the Emissions Trading Scheme as having "sold out"low-income Maori families, and I quote "to protect a narrow privileged southern elite".

As Member for Te Tai Tonga I have to tell the House that this latter comment has been interpreted by our iwi throughout Te Wai Pounamu as particularly offensive.

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And I would refer any members who have the view that iwi are somehow removed from their people, to the vision of Ngai Tahu, which is most simply:

Mō tātou,ā, mō kā uri ā muri ake nei
For us and our children after us

Ngai Tahu has a proud history of creative endeavour to ensure our whanui are culturally enriched, live long and live well, and that Ngai Tahu whanui lead the future. To suggest that our iwi are a privileged elite – when the very definition of iwi is a collective of whanau and hapu is both ridiculous and insulting.

Act leader Rodney Hide referred to the ETS negotiations as a backroom deal, that full and final settlements shouldn’t be relitigated and made a huge issue that the final wording of the Treaty clause was, in his assessment, concluded only 18 minutes before announcement.

Mr Speaker, Maori have had enough of being told that their capacity to negotiate arrangements is about special privileges or race based politics; that their numbers are too small or too narrow; that they didn’t follow the timeframe that others set for them.
In case this House has forgotten, the Māori asset base contributes 16.5 billion dollars to our economy. This money stays in New Zealand and will continue to grow over generations to come.

Maori are stakeholders, they are taxpayers, they are business people, they are entrepreneurs – and the Maori Party has been proud to support their initiative.

The Māori economy has unique characteristics, it is rapidly growing in response to being locked into under-development over history. We wanted to support the growing billions of dollars of contributions per annum to the New Zealand economy; and that was one part of the package we successfully negotiated for this Bill.

Under the previous scheme, the Māori economy took a hammering from being concentrated in all the areas most affected by the scheme; forestry, fishing, farming.
What we have achieved in this Emissions Trading Scheme is the commitment that the government will work with all iwi on indigenous tree planting, in addition to the specific agreement with the Crown, Waikato – Tainui, Ngai Tahu, Te Uri o Hau, Ngati Awa and Ngati Tuwharetoa which has resulted from the Crown’s breach of contract with those iwi.
And I would remain those who have overlooked the record, that this is a breach which dates back to 1998 when Government failed to disclose in its negotiations with iwi, that a domestic emissions trading scheme was inevitable and the effects it would have on forested land.
The ability of iwi to make an informed choice about its purchase of Crown forest lands with settlement monies was therefore impaired. The Bill today, finally rectifies that wrong.

It is important that we have indigenous forests grown by New Zealanders, and that iwi are part of the carbon market; and this party, the Maori Party, will never stand in the way of iwi initiative.

I want to note, too, that the intention of the Climate Change Iwi Leadership Group was always to lock down a solution for the iwi interests that are presented in this Bill, and then to work with and advocate a solution for all pre-1990 exotic forests. Those negotiations have already begun with other pre 1990 exotic forest land owners and the NZ Forest Owners Association.

The fisheries sector does better under this scheme, by ensuring that New Zealand owners of quota receive allocation instead of vessel owners.

The agricultural sector will also be supported by a number of research and uptake work programmes to support them to transition into more environmentally sustainable practices.

But it was never about economic drivers on their own.

The Maori Party policy has always made it clear that our whenua is the most important inheritance we will leave to our mokopuna. Our commitment to kaitiakitanga is all enduring and reflects the importance that our people place on the whenua.
This emissions trading scheme is only a small part of the environmental efforts that we need; and we should never expect any one Bill to address the major mindshift we need.

We have always said that climate change is our collective responsibility. A trading scheme will never be a complete answer to climate change, but we have done what we could to make the difference. Our environment has needs, and New Zealanders expect our environment to be protected because it is part of our national identity. We have advocated on behalf of the environment, for trees to be planted and for biodiversity to be valued.

The truth is, that as a country, we pride ourselves on the pristine state of our whenua, but in reality our practices don’t meet our reputation. The Māori Party negotiated to get indigenous trees planted and our environment valued as part of our common inheritance as New Zealanders.
Native trees mean more native species, in New Zealand and owned by Kiwis, as well as reducing our Kyoto bill.
Five iwi will now have the right to plant indigenous trees. The benefit and ownership will stay in New Zealand and all our mokopuna will be able to enjoy more native forest.
Mr Speaker, it has been disappointing that so little attention has been allocated to the National Policy Statement on biodiversity which we have known is long overdue. The National Policy Statement is one way of recognising nationally important ecology and helping district councils to protect it more efficiently and effectively.
We are also pleased that the review of the Permanent Forest Sinks Initiative will increase the incentives for all land owners to plant trees.


One of the overarching priorities for us has, however, always been he tangata, he tangata, he tangata.

We brought to the table the fact that lower income households are exposed by the emissions trading scheme and we negotiated a package to protect their interests. We want to see that all whānau in need get home insulation.
And so we are delighted that there will be $24 million in new money to insulate homes. Home insulation is important becomes it brings power prices down and improves health outcomes.
This fund, and the significant reductions in power and petrol costs will achieve immediate and long term contributions to the health and wellbeing of vulnerable households and we are proud of that.

We’ve also managed to reinstate the Enviro-Schools programme.

Finally, we recognise the Treaty of Waitangi is about doing what is right, it will also deliver greater certainty and stability to the ETS. We have negotiated a Treaty clause to give effect to the Treaty so that iwi will continue to be involved in this scheme.
Many of the details of the scheme will come through regulations and it is important that our people are part of working through those details.

There are many challenges ahead for us all. All of us, as members of the public, can encourage emitters to decrease emissions- public pressure can be a formidable force.

All of us can commit to collective action against climate change.

And all of us can make the commitment for an open, constructive and respectful relationship with tangata whenua.

We are proud to vote in support of this Bill.


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