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Maori leaders call for action on climate crisis

News from Hui Ahuarangi
The inaugural Māori Leaders Climate Summit concluded in Wellington on Sunday with a unified call for climate action.

Over 120 Māori leaders and officials from all over the country attended the summit as representatives of; Iwi runanga, Hapū and Whānau, forestry and fishing corporations, landholding companies, trade unions, private business and social enterprises, along with public health experts and climate and social scientists.

A stellar line up of presenters on Saturday included some of our nation’s top climate change and meteorological scientists, medical professionals, economic analysts, and community development experts.

On the second day representatives from regions across the country shared emergency planning and climate mitigation and adaptation strategies.

“While day one laid out the stark reality of climate change, the hui was full of positive responses to the information and experience sharing and there was a general agreement that urgent action is required to avoid a climate crisis” said hui co-convenor Hinekaa Mako.

“It is obvious that there is an immediate need for an ongoing process of planning and preparations as our society faces a climate challenged future”

“Māori communities, especially marae whānau will continue to provide support and shelter during storms like the recent cyclones, and we know there will be more extreme weather events in the future.”

The conveners of the hui welcomed the attendance of the Climate Change Minister James Shaw, and the New Zealand Climate Change Ambassador Jo Tyndall, with representatives of the Prime Minister’s department and senior Māori public service officials.

“We are encouraged by recent signals from the Prime Minister that our government is preparing to begin transitioning away from fossil fuels towards a zero carbon economy.”

The hui concluded with a unanimous endorsement of the following statement:

WE, THE PARTICIPANTS OF THE INAUGURAL MĀORI LEADERS CLIMATE CHANGE SUMMIT, WELLINGTON, 24-25 MARCH 2018:

1. Believing wholeheartedly that climate crisis is the most serious, potentially existential, threat of our Time for Aotearoa and all of humanity; and

2. Deeply appreciating the compelling science demonstrating that climate crisis is man-made, and therefore that humankind bears the responsibility to mitigate the worst effects of such abrupt change:-

CALL FOR A WHOLE OF SOCIETY RESPONSE TO CLIMATE CRISIS TO BE IMPLEMENTED WITH ALL DUE HASTE, INCLUDING:

3. All iwi to implement transformative economic models that enable a rapid transition to a zero-emissions economy, including that Māori authorities fully integrate considerations of abrupt climate change considerations into every investment decision;

4. Government cessation of all fossil-based fuel production combined with effective investment in renewable energy production and support infrastructure;

5. Enthusiastic and proactive Māori, business and industry and civil society support for all other principled aspects of the Labour-led Government’s aspirational climate crisis mitigation / adaptation plan, including reducing New Zealand Greenhouse Gas emissions to net Zero – and beyond, to net regenerative GHG levels – at its earliest opportunity or by 2050 at the latest; and

6. Government active protection of its Te Tiriti o Waitangi obligations to tangata whenua in the further development, execution, monitoring and review of its climate crisis mitigation / adaptation efforts.