Rubbish is a path to clean energy - John Tamihere

By Bronson Perich

Māori Party co-leader John Tamihere says the demand for landfills could reduce if rubbish were used to make clean energy.

"If you look at this Dome Valley (landfill) that we protested up there in Ngāti Whātua country, quite clearly we can have waste energy projects," John Tamihere says. "You don't have to have huge, filthy land dumps."

Using rubbish to make clean energy is just one way to reduce environmental damage.

The Māori Party want to commit $1 billion to a clean energy fund that Māori could access to build their own power grids.

"That billion-dollar programme awakens a lot of our land blocks up, to the fact that there can be small generation plants," Tamihere says.

He says building small local power generators rather than big power stations are the future.

Tamihere suggests the $1 billion pūtea could be used to build small hydro generators on waterways, solar farms, composting forest foliage and even worm farms. 

"There's a lot of waste going on because we're taking phosphate out of Morocco, and dumping tonnes of it on our whenua," he says.

"It's wrong to mine another people's whenua."

John Tamihere admits that his approach to politics this time around is different from when he was a Labour MP.

"That's because I was under Pākehās!

"I was assimilated and subjugated - and now I'm free!"

Calling himself a liberated native, having broken himself free from Labour political thinking, Tamihere says he's ready to bring these new ideas back into the Beehive.