Will he sue himself?

August 29, 2019

An Iwi leader is suing seven New Zealand companies for their failure to protect New Zealanders from climate change:

Climate activist and spokesperson for the Iwi Chairs Forum’s Climate Change Iwi Leaders Group, Mike Smith (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Kahu), made the
announcement on the eve of his departure to Mexico where he will be one of the representatives for the Pacific region at an Indigenous
peoples climate forum .

Oh the irony of that. Will he also sue himself for the emissions produced by the return flights to Mexico?

Smith is alleging that the named companies have committed public nuisance, have been negligent or breached other legal duties by emitting greenhouse gases and by not doing enough to reduce those emissions in the face of scientific evidence that their emissions have caused, and will continue to cause, harm.

“Māori are particularly vulnerable to climate change, being disproportionately represented amongst the poor, who will be the hardest hit. Rising sea levels, coastal erosion, flooding and storm
surges will irrevocably damage low lying coastal communities, and warming oceans and ocean acidification will damage traditional resources, including fisheries.” . . .

The companies he’s suing are Fonterra, Genesis Energy, Dairy Holdings, New Zealand Steel, Z Energy, New Zealand Refining and BT Mining.

That some of the farmers who supply Fonterra are Maori seems to have escaped him.

If he’s worried about the impact of climate change, not only should he not be flying, he should be encouraging more dairy production here where it’s done so efficiently it’s better for the world’s second most efficient producers, the Irish, to drink our milk rather than their own, even when shipping it there is taken into account.

It’s the poor who would be hardest hit by the economic impact of reducing dairy production and the resulting export income and hit again by worsening climate change as less efficient producers increase production to fill the gap in the market that would be created if New Zealand production fell.

“The urgency of climate change means we need far greater action and we need it now, and not just from government but also across the private sector” he says.

“It’s not good enough just to set far off targets, especially ones that let our biggest polluters like the agricultural sector off the hook so they can have a bit more time to turn a profit. The fact is
we are out of time and are now looking at damage control.”

What does he mean by biggest polluter? If it’s dairy versus his flight, dairy is cleaner and if nutrient density is included in the calculation, as it ought to be if it’s to compare like with like, New Zealand milk production is a world leader.

The agricultural sector producers food that not only sustains New Zealanders but earns a significant chunk of the country’s export income.

Without that the poor he purports to worry about would be even poorer.

 


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