Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Treelord and carbon credits

The government and iwi representatives have signed the "Treelord" deal, returning 170,000 hectares of Central North Island forest and accrued CFR trust revenues to a coalition of seven iwi. It's a major step forward for New Zealand and for Treaty justice, but its not perfect. Carbon credits were supposed to be an important part of the deal, but the government's Climate Change (Emissions Trading and Renewable Preference) Bill has been amended by select committee to assign more credits to post-2002 forest owners at the expense of giving far fewer to former CFRT land used in Treaty settlements - in effect, giving fewer credits to Maori based solely on the colour of their skin. There is no absolutely justification for this move - it was simply a racist move designed to favour the interests of rich, mostly Pakeha forest owners at the expense of Maori. Which is New Zealand's history in a nutshell, really.

That single amendment has stripped approximately $90 million from the value of this settlement, and it ought to leave a bad taste in the mouth of everyone. It's 2008. Can the racist theft stop now please?