'Why blame the cows' - Māori farmer rejects ETS as money grab

By James Perry

Paki Nikora, a trustee of Te Urewera-based Tātaiwhetu Trust, says he can't fathom why farmers continue to be blamed for the world's greenhouse gas emissions.

"Mēnā tātou ka whakaaro i te wā ka pā mai te mate uruta kia tātou, ka makere mai ngā ēropereina i te rangi, ka makere mai ngā motuka i ngā huarahi ka mārama te kitea atu i te taiao ki te whare rā anō o te atua. Kei te whakapae rātou nā ngā kau kē te hē.
(If we think back to when the covid pandemic hit us and the planes were grounded and cars were off the roads, it was clear to see the improvement in the environment. But they still want to blame the cows.) 

He describes the government's emissions reduction scheme is a "senseless tax" on the industry.

"Kāore au i te mārama he aha rātou e huri mai nei ki te tāke i a tātou whenua. He mahi moni noa tērā."
(I don't know why they keep trying to tax us on our whenua. It's just a plain money grab)


"Senseless tax" on the farming industry, says Paki Nikora. 

'We can't save the planet on our own'

The government says its plan will see Aotearoa farmers become world leaders in carbon emission reduction, and in a position to not "only be the best in the world but also be the best for the world". 

Nikora, whose trust operates an organic dairy farm in the Ruatoki valley, and won the Ahuwhenua trophy for Māori farming excellence, questions how effective Aotearoa can be in the face of global issues, caused in part by much larger countries.

"Akuni he painga pea kei roto mō te ao. Engari kāore pea e Aotearoa, tōna pakupaku noaiho te manaaki i a Papatūānuku o te ao. Arā a Putin e whakapahū nei i tōna pito o te ao, anei tāua e whakapau kaha nei ki te whakaora i te ao. Ka pēhea kē ētahi motu? Kei te aha rātou?"
(Maybe there will some good that will come from it. But New Zealand is small. We can't save the planet on our own. You've got Putin causing trouble in his part of the world, and here's us trying to save ours. What about the rest of the world? What are they doing?)

He is also concerned about the short time frame available for farmers to provide their feedback on the proposal.

"Kātahi tonu ka timata tonu te hui mō ngā Māori, ana kei te kī mai ki a tau i te kāwanatanga a te 17 o te marama e tū mai nei. He ono wiki noa pea kua hōmaihia ki a tāua te Māori ki te whāngai atu a tāua whakaaro."
(We (Māori farmers) have only just had our first hui this week but the government have said submissions will close on November 17. That leaves us with about six weeks to voice our views on the proposal.)