Last Friday (28 April), Te Taumata met kanohi-ki-te-kanohi with the new Minister for Forestry, Peeni Henare in Rotorua to voice their concerns regarding the ETS review.
“Minister Henare was fully briefed on our issues, including explaining our efforts over the past year, initially led by the late Ta Toby Curtis, who fought against government plans to strip away Māori land rights and to choose how we use our lands, through legislation or regulation,” said Te Taumata Chairman, Chris Karamea Insley.
“Forestry interests have the potential to bring more than $16 billion in earnings to the Māori economy from otherwise unproductive land, while providing an intergenerational legacy through participation in Aotearoa New Zealand’s climate action and supporting the long-term transition to native forests. It is the best chance Aotearoa has to get to our climate targets and reduce the cost to taxpayers of imported units at 2030.
“We should reinforce that we do not believe forest planting should occur on productive farmland and have never advocated for that fact.
“Dr Rod Carr, Chairman of the Climate Commission, along with Climate Change Minister James Shaw and other Officials, have a very clear personal agenda to kill off permanent exotic forestry on marginal lands. They are philosophically opposed to exotic trees. They want to see only natives planted. Native planting cannot get us to our 2050 climate target because they grow so slowly – it’s impossible!
“I explained to Minister Henare that Dr Carr needs to be formally held to account for the harm he is doing to Māori, enabled by Minister James Shaw, where he has gone way outside of his climate mandate and straying into New Zealand Finance and Economic policy!
“At this hui, I called on Minister Henare that Government need to announce publicly its intention to go back to first principles, tear up current ETS Review process and start from scratch! Kanohi ki te kanohi!
“I would like to express my congratulations and thanks to Minister Henare for meeting with us ā-kanohi (in-person), as we have been urging government officials to do so for several months,” said Mr Insley.
Read more in our pānui below.
Government’s recent ETS consultation with Māori a breach of Te Tiriti
Since the proposed Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) changes were announced last year, Te Taumata, on behalf of Māori forestry landowners, has fiercely advocated our position and for transparent and authentic engagement from Government.
Unfortunately, actions by government officials over the last months clearly display a disregard for the basic principles of good faith and partnership.
Most recently, Te Taumata was given less than two days to respond to the Government’s request for feedback on their latest review of the ETS. This, despite officials working on a comprehensive report and analysis into transition forestry ‘Toitū te whenua, Toitū ngā hua o Tāne’ review for more than six months, which was provided to the Government on 24 Match 2023.
Te Taumata Chair, Chris Karamea Insley, says the idea of the Government offering less than two working days of ‘consultation’, under constraints of a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), with no warning or prior engagement, on matters of such fundamental importance to the Government’s Te Tiriti o Waitangi partner is wholly inappropriate.
“Te Taumata and other Māori forestry landowners have effectively been ambushed by officials, with no time to properly respond on an issue that is vitally important to the Māori economy,” Mr Insley says.
“The officials involved in this process were directed six months ago by Cabinet that engaging with Māori would be critical to this process.
“Offering less than 48 hours to respond under a strict NDA, where the groups are unable to seek wider advice from their governance boards and their forestry and technical advisors on issues of such import to Māori forestry interests, is making a mockery of that instruction, especially when the terms of the NDA are so strict that information was not even able to be shared with the groups we represent!”
Mr Insley says it is clear that officials have conducted a significant amount of work during the last six months to prepare for the review. The review’s scope is broad and has the potential to impact future forestry investment – points previously emphasised to Cabinet by Minster of Forestry Stuart Nash.
“Despite the extensive nature of officials’ work, and the review’s significance and potential impacts, we were unaware this work was being undertaken – even though we were working closely with officials on forestry issues over several months.”
As a result, Te Taumata is seeking an immediate review of the Government’s process, an extension of the review period, and a lifting of the NDAs to allow for proper and open consultation.
In addition, Te Taumata is specifically seeking the Government’s position on the analysis that Te Taumata has completed into transition forestry, and clarification on the Government’s recent proposal to significantly increase the fees associated with the ETS.
Mr Insley says forestry interests have the potential to bring more than $16 billion in earnings to the Māori economy from otherwise unproductive land while providing an intergenerational legacy through participation in the Aotearoa’s climate action and supporting the long-term transition to native forests.
“These are fundamental issues with wide-ranging consequences that cannot be considered within negligible timeframes under a cloak of secrecy.
“We demand the Government takes its responsibilities as a Te Tiriti partner seriously, to recognise the rights of tangata whenua to make decisions about their own land, and commit to engaging fully and openly with Māori on matters of such momentous importance,” Mr Insley says.
“While our recent engagement with officials have been both frustrating and disappointing, we remain hopeful that there can be a sensible dialogue about the role of forestry in the ETS. We are also optimistic that constructive kōrero can be had with the Government to move matters forward in a transparent and Te Tiriti-compliant manner.
“We will not rest until we are adequately heard – Ka whawhai tonu mātou mō te āke, āke, āke!”