Oranga Whenua | Climate Change

Māori Party climate change policy plan 

Executive Summary 

Ko te mahi o te kaitiaki te aki i te mana o Papatūānuku, o Ranginui hoki, tae noa ki a rāua tini tamariki mokopuna e whāngai nei i a tātou o te ao mārama nei. 

He mana tuku iho ki ngā iwi me ngā hapū i ēnei rā mā ngā atua me te Tiriti o Waitangi. Mā ngā iwi me ngā hapū e whakahaere, e kai hoki kia ora ai a Papatūānuku me āna tini uri mokopuna tatū mai ki te tangata. 

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges Aotearoa and Te Ao Māori will ever face. It poses an existential threat to our culture, our whakapapa, our economy, and the natural environment that sustains us, including the taonga species that make up our unique indigenous biodiversity. 

The protection of Papatūānuku and a stable global climate cannot be achieved without indigenous leadership and knowledge, or the recognition of indigenous rights. In Aotearoa that means that whānau, hapū and iwi must remain at the forefront of climate action and the solutions must be our own. 

This is an ambitious plan for climate action that recognises the size and scale of the challenges that we face, and sets out how Te Ao Māori can contribute to mitigating the worst impacts of the climate crisis while also adapting to the reality of our already-changing climate and embracing environmental protection and restoration as an opportunity to ensure our whānau have what they need to thrive. 

The Māori Party will; 

  1. End new onshore oil and gas permits and withdraw existing onshore and offshore oil and gas permits within five years and aim to decommission sites by 2030
  2. Ban seabed mining permits nationwide and withdraw existing seabed mining permits
  3. Establish dedicated $1bn Pūngao Auaha fund for Māori-owned community energy projects and solar panel and insulation instillations on marae, kura, homes and papakāinga housing developments
  4. Work alongside interested whānau, hapū and iwi to develop a national Māori strategy for renewable energy and clean technology and ensure the Crown supports Māori-led clean technology projects with R&D, start-up funding, and partnership finance
  5. Phase out synthetic nitrogen fertiliser on farms by 2025 and bring methane emissions from agriculture into the ETS to disincentivise intensive methane-emitting agriculture
  6. Establish $300m Mātai Ahuwhenua innovation and support fund to incentivise Māori farmers to transition to regenerative and value-add farming practises 
  7. Ensure the Crown works with whānau, hapū and iwi to establish climate change adaptation plans and establish a fund to support whānau, hapū and iwi with adaptation
  8. Ensure Aotearoa plays a greater role in supporting Pasifika leaders on the world stage through aggressive diplomatic efforts 

 

Solution 

He ara hou - ending fossil fuel exploration in Aotearoa 

Māori have been on the frontline of resisting risky and climate-polluting fossil fuel and mineral extraction. In 2011 Te Whānau-ā-Apanui successfully led the opposition to Petrobras’ deep-sea oil exploration in the Raukūmara Basin. In 2013 Sir Mark Solomon led opposition to Anadarko’s arrival in Kaikōura. In 2015 the hapū of Te Tai Tokerau resisted the deep-sea oil exploration of Statoil, while in 2016 Ngāti Kahungungu mobilised its waka hourua, Te Matau a Māui, to challenge the world’s biggest seismic blasting ship the Amazon Warrior, as it searched for oil off the Wairarapa Coast. Following the Amazon Warrior’s arrival, over 80 coastal hapū declared their unanimous rejection of oil exploration, culminating in a resolution of the National Iwi Chairs Forum in 2017 to oppose all seismic testing and oil exploration in Aotearoa’s watersi

In 2018 the Crown amended the Crown Minerals Act (CMA) so that new offshore block offers for oil and gas exploration would not be made. The Māori Party supported this change; however, we do not support the Crown’s policy of continuing onshore block offers in Taranaki and would ban new block offers in law. 

We believe that it is critical to withdraw existing onshore and offshore oil and gas permits that are yet to be exercised and aspire to have sites decommissioned within 10 years. Production and extraction of oil and gas should be ceased in 5 years from existing sites. We recognise that the challenge of decommissioning sites and that it will involve significant costs and international assistance, but it is important that we begin that work now. It is no longer acceptable for Aotearoa to support the global fossil fuel industry, and we must accept that oil and gas is already a sunset industry. 

Since 2016, Ngāti Ruanui, other Taranaki iwi and the local community have been opposing a permit for Trans-Tasman Resources (TTR) to undertake risky and untested seabed mining off the South Taranaki Bight. The campaign on the streets and in the courts is ongoing, with the decision of the Court of Appeal to overturn the permit due to be appealed by TTR in the Supreme Court. The Māori Party would ban seabed mining permits nationwide in the EEZ and withdraw existing permits, as we accept that the risks for the climate, for marine mammals and for local industries are far too great. 

The Māori Party will; 

  • End new onshore oil and gas permits and withdraw existing onshore and offshore oil and gas permits within five years and aim to decommission sites by 2030 
  • Ban seabed mining permits nationwide and withdraw existing seabed mining permits 
  • Implement the policy to end mining on conservation land and extend the policy to include reserves and Significant Natural Areas under the RMA 

 

Pūngao Auaha – renewable energy & clean technology 

As Māori we need to be leading the transition to a zero-emissions economy, by reducing emissions, while ensuring it is a just transition by supporting whānau, hapū and iwi who are engaged in emissions-producing industries in the Māori economy. This is an economic and social opportunity for hapū, iwi and Māori businesses to be at the cutting edge of clean green technology, which has the potential to create jobs, lower energy costs and ensure that the Māori economy continues to grow. 

There needs to be stronger focus from the Crown on supporting renewable energy and energy efficiency at the community and grassroots level. Government should be incentivising greater development of whānau, hapū, iwi and community renewable energy and clean technology projects. 

The Māori Party would establish a new dedicated $1bn-scheme, Pūngao Auaha, that is responsible for supporting Māori-owned community energy projects, and for funding the complete fit-out of marae, kura and papakāinga housing developments with solar energy and insulation. Individual whānau would also be able to apply for funding for solar and insulation instillations. The scheme will be responsible for funding projects that create jobs in Māori communities and bring down energy costs for thousands of whānau. 

The Crown is currently reviewing its strategy for renewable energy and energy efficiency, but it has not proposed any meaningful action in terms of involving whānau, hapū and iwi Māoriii. The Māori Party would establish a national Māori strategy for renewable energy and clean technology, which would enable the negotiation of partnership agreements between the Crown and specific hapū and iwi who are keen to lead on renewable energy and clean technology, including with significant investments in large-scale projects. 

As part of a plan to achieve 100% renewable electricity and energy production, we would also ban new coal mine permits and phase out the industrial burning of coal by 2030. Pūngao Auaha would be available for Māori businesses to innovate and phase out the use of coal. 

The Māori Party will; 

  • Establish dedicated $1bn Pūngao Auaha fund for Māori-owned community energy projects and solar panel and insulation instillations on marae, kura, homes and papakāinga housing developments 
  • Work alongside interested whānau, hapū and iwi to develop a national Māori strategy for renewable energy and clean technology and ensure the Crown supports Māori-led clean technology projects with R&D, start-up funding, and partnership finance 
  • Ban coal mine permits and phase out the industrial burning of coal by 2030 

 

Mātai Ahuwhenua – regenerative agriculture 

Intensive dairying has become the country’s biggest river and climate polluter in Aotearoa. The IPCC says we need significant reductions in methane in the next eight years to keep the world under 1.5C. Aotearoa can only meet its emissions reductions obligations by significantly reducing livestock numbers and moving away from emissions-intensive farming practices like the use of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser, and imported feed, and towards regenerative and value-added farming. 

Regenerative agriculture has its roots in indigenous farming practices that our tupuna used to produce food sustainably before European colonisation. Regenerative farming also fits in with climate adaptation as it increases resilience against impacts from drought, flooding, and other extreme weather events, and improves food self-sufficiency. 

Since 1990 the dairy herd has nearly doubled, fuelled by a 67% increase in the use of synthetic fertiliser. Synthetic nitrogen fertiliser is made using fossil gas and is one of the key drivers of overstocking on dairy farms. The Māori Party would phase out the use of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser by 2025. 

To make the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) effective in bringing down Aotearoa’s emissions, exemptions need to be reduced as fast as possible and agriculture needs to be brought into the system immediately – it has already been delayed too long. While methane emissions, half of our domestic emissions, are excluded the ETS will never be a useful tool. 

It is crucial that Māori working in agriculture, particularly in the dairy industry, are supported through these transitions. The Māori Party will establish the $300m Mātai Ahuwhenua innovation and support fund to incentivise Māori farmers to transition to regenerative and value-add farming. Whānau and Māori-owned businesses would be able to apply to the fund for agricultural innovation grants, and for financial support to buffer losses associated with a price on methane and the phasing out of synthetic nitrogen fertilisers. 

The Māori Party will; 

  • Phase out the use of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser on farms by 2025 
  • Bring methane emissions from agriculture into the ETS, and incentivise transitioning away from intensive dairying 
  • Establish $300m Mātai Ahuwhenua innovation and support fund to incentivise Māori farmers to transition to regenerative and value-add farming practises 

 

Ngā āhuatanga urutau – adaptation 

While the priority has to remain taking action to reduce our emissions, and pushing internationally for other nations to do the same, we also have to begin to grapple with adapting to the changes that are already inventible from the warming in global temperatures that we have already seen. 

We are already facing an increase in extreme weather events as a result of our changing climate, and sea levels have begun to rise. Whānau, hapū and iwi need to begin serious planning for how we adapt our economies, societies, and cultures to the new environmental reality we find ourselves in. This needs to include developing climate change adaptation plans and policies for issues such as managed retreat and food security. It is likely inevitable that there will be displacement of important sites such as papakaingā and urupā, which will carry huge costsiii. The Māori Party position is that the Crown should establish a fund to support whānau, hapū and iwi with the costs of the adaptation needs identified in their adaptation plans. 

The Māori Party will; 

  • Provide resource for, and ensure the Crown works with, whānau, hapū and iwi to establish climate change adaptation plans 
  • Establish a fund to support whānau, hapū and iwi with adaptation such as shifting papakāinga under managed retreat policies 

 

Kotahitanga o Te Moana nui ā Kiwa - supporting our Pasifika whanaunga 

Climate change is putting the lives and livelihoods of some of our closest neighbours in low-lying Pacific nations at extreme risk. Pacific leaders are at the forefront of fighting for no warming above 1.5C and saving us from the worst effects of sea level rise, but there is a growing number of people who have no choice but to consider leaving their home islandsiv. This problem is only going get worse if world leaders don’t immediately change direction and transform our global economy. 

We need to support our Pasifika whanaunga by ensuring Aotearoa plays a greater role in supporting Pasifika leaders on the world stage through aggressive diplomatic efforts 

The Māori Party will; 

  • Ensure Aotearoa plays a greater role in supporting Pasifika leaders on the world stage through aggressive diplomatic efforts 

 

Context 

The climate crisis threatens our culture and identity as tangata whenua. It has been a slow-moving crisis and depictions of rising temperatures and melting glaciers means it often feels distant and abstract. But that is beginning to change as we see the effects of a changing climate in Aotearoa. Our responses to the climate crisis must reflect the scale and urgency of the challenge. 

Despite decades of warnings, protest and discussions, the planet is continuing to warm. Since 2016, Aotearoa has had three of its hottest years on record since recordings began in 1909v. As a result, extreme climate conditions are continuing to accelerate. 

In 2018 the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a landmark report that made clear there was only 12 years to limit “climate catastrophe” by limiting global temperature rises below 1.5Cvi. There is no time for inaction or delay. 

As indigenous peoples we have the most to lose from a failure to act on climate change, despite a relatively tiny contribution to global emissions. Many of our Pasifika whanaunga face the prospect of losing their islands altogether due to sea level rise. 

Sea level rise is already beginning to affect Aotearoa too, and it puts at risk many coastal papakaingā, marae, urupā, homes and businesses. The scientific predictions for the speed and scale of sea level rise are constantly being revised due to the unpredictable acceleration, but we know we need to plan for what is an unfolding reality. 

Here in Aotearoa and around the world, from Raukūmara to Standing Rock, we have also seen that indigenous peoples are on the frontline of resisting climate-polluting industries and pushing for transformative climate action. We are also seeing indigenous wisdom and traditional knowledge rise to prominence as the modern world grapples with how to restore balance with the natural world, something indigenous peoples have always understood. 

The hapū and iwi-led Māori economy is a major economic powerhouse in Aotearoa, particularly in the regions. Chapman Trip’s 2017 Te Ao Māori report estimated the size of the Māori economy to be $50b, with 30 per cent of this held by Māori groups, such as land trusts and incorporationsvii. The 2018 TDB Iwi Investment Report values that the total assets of all post-settlement entities at around $9bviii

It is therefore imperative that there is a strategy to transition the Māori economy away from fossil fuels and unsustainable energy as the country aims for a zero-emissions economy by 2050, as part of our national commitment to combat the climate crisis. This is an economic and social opportunity for hapū, iwi and Māori businesses to be at the cutting edge of clean green technology, which has the potential to create jobs, grow asset bases and ensure that the Māori economy continues to grow. 

 

i. https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1711/S00350/iwi-chairs-forum-oppose-seismic-testing.htm?from- mobile=bottom-link-01

ii. https://www.mbie.govt.nz/dmsdocument/10349-discussion-document-accelerating-renewable-energy-and- energy-efficiency

iii. https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12195542

iv. https://www.mfat.govt.nz/assets/Uploads/Redacted-Cabinet-Paper-Pacific-climate-migration-2-May- 2018.pdf

v. https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2020/01/2019-was-nz-s-fourth-warmest-year-on-record- world-s-second-warmest.html

vi. https://www.ipcc.ch/2018/10/08/summary-for-policymakers-of-ipcc-special-report-on-global-warming-of-1- 5c-approved-by-governments/

vii. https://www.chapmantripp.com/Publication%20PDFs/2017%20Chapman%20Tripp%20Te%20Ao%20Maori% 20-%20trends%20and%20insights%20E-VERSION.pdf

viii. https://www.tdb.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/TDB-2018-Iwi-Investment-Report.pdf 

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