Wellington, April 29, 2018
I welcome a Productivity Commission draft report on New Zealand’s transition to a low-emissions economy.
It raises important issues for Maori.
The report identifies some key issues related to the well-being of Maori that need to be taken into account as we move forward on the crucial task of tackling climate change.
For future Maori development, the report will help in the consideration of the transition to a low carbon economy, as well as the current and future use of land to improve high value productivity and improved environmental impacts.
Risks to Maori
The report’s comment that, in particular, many Maori communities and marae are located on the coast and at risk from sea-level rise and storm surges.
Maori also had Treaty interests in protecting ancestral lands, waterways and the wider environment, and emissions-reduction measures would support that, the report said.
But there was also the issue of how emissions reduction policies could affect the value and use of natural assets owned by Maori, as well as a greater vulnerability of Maori to the effects of potential price rises arising from measures to reduce emissions.
As we look to make essential progress of the emissions reduction front, we will need to monitor closely the impact of any new policies and measures on Maori given these factors.
Guiding local government
For the local government sector, the report would inform and help guide the way central Government supports the local government sector to build community resilience in the face of climate change and required measures to combat it.
For example, the report suggested that the Government could provide better guidance on the best available technology to support councils to make waste management improvements and regulate waste. Public sector procurement policies could also help cut emissions.
It will be important to look closely at various ways of helping councils and their communities deal with emissions reduction challenges and the threats posed by climate change.
Nanaia Mahuta is Maori Development Minister of New Zealand.
(Picture from file)