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‘Climate change going to the Waitangi Tribunal for priority inquiry’

“The Crown will finally be held to account in front of the Waitangi Tribunal for its failure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and being complicit in the destruction of our natural world and rising harm to communities across the country from climate chaos ” says Tuhi-Ao Bailey, claimant for WAI3262 on behalf of Climate Justice Taranaki.

The Waitangi Tribunal has decided to hold a priority kaupapa inquiry into climate change policy. In its recent decision, the Waitangi Tribunal noted that “climate change is an existential threat not only to the claimants, but to Māori and the nation. All credible evidence points to climate change as a significant and potentially irreversible threat unless governments take urgent action. Māori have a unique and significant relationship with te taiao and the Tribunal can provide advice and guidance to the Crown as to interpretation of Treaty principles in this context.”

This means that the climate change hearing will sit alongside other significant kaupapa inquiries such as the Mana Wāhine inquiry and the Constitutional kaupapa inquiry. “Together with the other claimants, we are ready to make our case in front of the Waitangi Tribunal to demonstrate how successive governments have generated inadequate climate change policy that has favoured polluting industries such as dirty dairying and oil, coal and gas mining over protecting communities and the planet. The Waitangi Tribunal noted our Toitū Taranaki 2030 plan which is a community powered strategy for a fast and just carbon neutral transition as an alternative approach to mitigation that aligns with Te Tiriti o Waitangi” says Tuhi-Ao Bailey.

“With Mike Smith suing big polluters like Fonterra, Genesis Energy and Z Energy in the High Court for public nuisance and negligence for their contributions to climate change, we are now able to open another legal front in the quest to protect future generations from harm perpetuated by the crown and dirty companies. Across Aotearoa, hapū, iwi, community groups, students, workers unions and migrant organisations are mobilising and working together in the quest for climate justice. In 1854, our people in Taranaki collectively said ‘te tangata tōmua, te whenua tōmuri” – we will keep fighting to protect our land and our people. Collectively, we are upholding this legacy. Together, we rise for system change to ensure a just and peaceful future for all our tamariki and mokopuna” concludes Tuhi-Ao Bailey.

 

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