A recent opinion piece, titled “Māori Climate Heating Up Over Emissions Trading Scheme,” by Te Aupōuri Operations Manager, Penetaui Kleskovicm, raises significant concerns around the New Zealand ETS and its impact on Māori communities. Kleskovic highlights five key points that shed light on crucial issues.
- Reluctance to raise ETS Price and dubious carbon mitigation initiatives: Kleskovic criticises the government’s reluctance to allow the ETS price to rise, resulting in a substantial loss of revenue amounting to $2.7 billion. He questions the effectiveness of carbon mitigation initiatives funded by the Climate Emergency Response Fund (CERF), which receives money from the ETS. Specifically, Kleskovic highlights the clean car discount scheme, arguing that it primarily benefits those who can already afford expensive electric vehicles, rather than assisting working-class whānau and rural residents.
- Electric Vehicle Disparity and Infrastructure Challenges: Kleskovic emphasises the limited adoption of electric vehicles in areas like Tai Tokerau, where the priority is maintaining roadworthy vehicles amidst deteriorating road conditions. He suggests that there should be a substantial focus on improving road infrastructure resilience, particularly in rural areas, and before investing in more charging stations. This infrastructure deficiency poses a significant barrier to growth, hindering rural Māori communities seeking to expand their investments in sectors such as marine farming and primary industries.
- Lost economic opportunities due to infrastructure failures: Kleskovic points out the economic potential in industries like exporting fresh oysters from Whangaroa, which can fetch high prices in Asian markets. However, unreliable transport and infrastructure shortcomings prevent Māori communities from fully capitalising on these opportunities. He draws attention to the urgent need for investment in flooding resilience and highway accessibility to safeguard overseas revenue and support the growth of rural Māori ventures.
- Lack of Māori involvement in climate mitigation: Kleskovic criticises the Ministry for the Environment for not adequately considering Māori perspectives and involvement in climate mitigation efforts. He dismisses the ministry’s approach as disconnected from the realities faced by rural whānau, viewing it as mere “globetrotting gas.” The article calls for a reset that prioritises Māori involvement and focuses on cost-efficiency, highlighting the importance of commercial analysis and least-cost options.
- Concerns over ETS-based offsetting and Māori land rights: The Climate Commission chairman, Rod Carr, is depicted as opposing industries utilising ETS-based offsetting, echoing the sentiment of global climate experts. Kleskovic argues that such opposition hampers efficient decarbonisation efforts. In addition, he highlights the importance of ETS certainty for Māori landowners involved in carbon forestry, as it enables them to generate income and support new Māori ventures. He warns that neglecting Māori land rights and dismissing concerns surrounding them could have implications for the durability of settlements and the future development of climate policies.
Kleskovic’s article shines a spotlight on the critical issues surrounding the ETS and its impact on Māori communities in Aotearoa – we continue to demand attention and action from government on this, and maintain the urgent need to start from scratch.