Minister Mahuta welcomes climate change report

Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta has welcomed a Productivity Commission draft report on New Zealand’s transition to a low-emissions economy, saying it raises important issues for Māori.

“The report identifies some key issues related to the well-being of Māori that need to be taken into account as we move forward on the crucial task of tackling climate change,” said Nanaia Mahuta, who is also Local Government Minister.

For future Māori 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”, the minister said.

She noted an issues paper comment that, in particular, many Māori communities and marae are located on the coast and at risk from sea-level rise and storm surges.

Māori also had Treaty interests in protecting ancestral lands, waterways and the wider environment, and emissions-reduction measures would support that, the issues paper said. But there was also the issue of how emissions reduction policies could affect the value and use of natural assets owned by Māori, as well as a greater vulnerability of Māori to the effects of potential price rises arising from measures to reduce emissions.

“As we look to make essential progress on the emissions reduction front we will need to monitor closely the impact of any new policies and measures on Māori given these factors,” the minister said.

For the local government sector, she said 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 issues paper noted 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 has been suggested.

 “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 said.