Te Taumata, along with a strong contingent of Māori forestry leaders from across the motu, met with seven government ministers in Wellington yesterday to discuss our ongoing concerns about the proposed forestry changes that would infringe on our rights as Māori landowners.

The meeting had iwi representatives from as far as Northland to meet with Ministers James Shaw (Climate Change), Stuart Nash (Forestry), Willie Jackson (Māori Development), Nanaia Mahuta (Foreign Affairs), Rino Tirikatene (Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Māori Trade), Meka Whaitiri (Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP) and Kiritapu Allan (Conservation).

We were also joined by officials from the Ministry for the Environment, Ministry of Primary Industries, Te Puni Kōkiri and the Prime Minister’s office. 

We took this opportunity to deliver our strong, clear and consistent views that the proposal to remove exotics from the permanent category of the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) will have significant, negative impacts on Māori forestry interests.

In turn, we listened to the position of Ministers Shaw and Nash, both of whom reiterated that no final decisions had been made on the proposal and Government wanted to work with us to resolve the technical issues identified.

As a result, we have established a Māori technical team and governance group, which will start meeting regularly as early as next week. 

While yesterday’s meeting does not signal that our concerns have been resolved, we are encouraged that there is now an agreed process to work in partnership with Government.

Moving forward, there is a significant amount of mahi that needs to be completed with urgency on both sides and we will endeavour to update you as it progresses.