Brash: Iwi climate change legal action absurd

Legal action by an iwi leader against the Government alleging "failure" to protect Māori from climate change is the height of absurdity, Hobson’s Pledge spokesman Don Brash said today.  

Climate Change Iwi Leaders Group chair Mike Smith said he filed proceedings in the High Court because the Government was failing in its duties under the Treaty of Waitangi to protect Maori, who were particularly vulnerable, from the "catastrophic effects of climate change".

Smith wanted the courts to declare the Government was failing unless it reduced total greenhouse gases by half by 2030, and to zero by 2050.

“In 1840 when the Treaty was signed, nobody had even heard about climate change,” Dr Brash said.

To suggest that a treaty made almost 180 years ago, guaranteeing the same political rights to all New Zealanders, also assumed that the Government has some kind of special obligation to Maori in relation to the climate is just silly, he said.