The Māori Trustee concerned agricultural emissions proposal will disadvantage whenua Māori
The biggest single administrator of whenua Māori in the country says she has grave concerns about the government’s ‘pricing of agricultural emissions’ proposal, and the likely impact it will have on Māori landowners.
The Māori Trustee and CEO of Te Tumu Paeroa - the Office of the Māori Trustee – Dr Charlotte Severne, outlines her concerns in a submission to the Ministry for the Environment’s ‘Pricing Agricultural Emissions’ consultation document. Dr Severne administers as trustee or agent, 88-thousand hectares of Māori freehold land on behalf of its approximately 100,000 individual owners. She does not speak for other holders of whenua Māori, iwi, hapū or individuals, who have submissions of their own.
Dr Severne recognises the need to reduce emissions, however, the proposed pricing system will disproportionately disadvantage Māori and she doesn’t think it is equitable.
“The document itself says it’s likely to disproportionately disadvantage Māori landowners, but doesn’t provide a solution for the inequity.”
In a lengthy and detailed submission the Māori Trustee explains the differences between Māori freehold and general land, and why implementation of the present proposal will disadvantage the lands she administers which is predominantly small, fragmented and individually uneconomic Māori holdings often on marginal lands. In addition the large economic Māori whenua based entities in her portfolio would also be disproportionately affected by increased compliance costs (some which is only subject to Te Ture Whenua Māori Trusts) and unrecognised sequestration assets.
The submission also expresses concern about the impact the proposal will have on rural communities, where Māori are often over represented.
Dr Severne says “the proposal seems designed from a western point of view and doesn’t recognise the cultural value that Māori place on land, in addition to economic value. There is also concern that the measures seem more directed at large economically strong farming operations, not those over-represented in the classes of land where Whenua Māori is located.”
The Māori Trustee’s submission also does not support the Government’s approach to recognising carbon sequestration; saying the reduction in categories of vegetation being recognised will disproportionately affect whenua Māori and whenua Māori landowners because of the exclusion of vegetation they currently have on their properties.
While Dr Severne’s submission opposes much of the proposed policy, she does support the proposal to work with Treaty Partners to understand ways to reduce the administrative burden of agricultural emissions pricing on whenua Māori agribusinesses.
The full submission is available at: Māori Trustee - Submission on Pricing Agricultural Emissions
For more information please contact Emma Wheeler, Kaihautū Whakapāho | Marketing and Communications Manager, by email at [email protected] or by phone on 04 474 4681.