Zero Carbon Bill - Māori concerns addressed

By Tema Hemi

The Zero Carbon Bill passed its second reading in parliament this week and has received near-universal support. However, there are concerns that the bill has no clause that ensures tangata whenua participation in protecting their local environment.

This protector of the environment wants to see tangata whenua engaged more.   

Nakia Randle of Te Arawhatu says, "We think the bill could be really strengthened in how it engages with tangata whenua in the process of allowing our leadership in that space."

Randle is apart of Te Arawhatu an indigenous rangatahi climate group who are working for climate justice and climate action. 

Randle also says, "We really support the intent of the Zero Carbon Bill this is climate action that really needed to start happening decades ago."

Vice president of the Māori Party Kapua Smith says tangata whenua have the right to be able to protect their own natural resources.  

Smith says, "Protecting our taiao is an issue of kaitiakitanga, protecting our taiao is a treaty issue. So given that it's not in the bill we need to look now at the implementation of the bill to ensure that we are adequately supporting whānau Māori."

The Minister of Climate Change James Shaw says, "We actually got a lot of submissions from iwi and a lot of Māori organisations. Through the select committee process, we've actually strengthened the number of provisions of the Treaty of Waitangi clauses and appointments to the commission from te ao Māori."

Randle will travel with other members of Te Arawhatu next month and participate at the United Nations Climate Change conference in Madrid.

Randle says in closing, "In particular rangatahi Māori we really understand what is at stake and we know that climate change is an intergenerational issue and as rangatahi we fell close to our future generations."

The third reading of the Zero Carbon Bill will be passed through Parliament tonight.