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Ed Sheeran

Urupā at risk as seas rise

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The Māori climate commissioner says central and local government need to recognise Māori communities will be hit first and hit hardest by climate change.

Donna Awatere-Huata says she is urging Climate Change Minister James Shaw to hold firm and make the changes necessary to bring New Zealand’s carbon emissions down - in contrast to the majority of those lobbying the minister, who are trying to carve out exemptions for their industries.

She says the Māori voice is almost absent, yet 80 percent of marae are on the coast or near flood-prone rivers.

Many hapū will also need to move their urupā, and she’s heard of one Wairoa hapū that was quoted $250,000 to do the job.

"Hawkes Bay Regional Council is giving $150,000 to move a playground and is giving nothing to move the urupā so two issues here. Councils have to be held to account for how they are being responsive to Māori concens and secondly, we need to find a new protocol other than using Pākehā contractors to move our urupā," Ms Awatere-Huata says.

She says recent developments such as the rapid melting on the Antarctic ice sheets are a sign current targets are too conservative, and the push should be for a zero carbon economy by 2030 rather than 2050.


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