Mataatua District Maori Council v. New Zealand
Jurisdiction: New Zealand
Principle law(s): Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act (amending the Climate Change Response Act 2002)
Side A: Mataatua District Maori Council (Individual government)
Side B: Government of New Zealand (Government)
Core objectives: Determine whether New Zealand climate change policy violates Treaty of Waitangi with Māori
SummaryRepresentatives of the Mataatua District Māori Council have filed a claim and supporting memorandum in the Waitangi Tribunal, the forum where disputes over the performance of the Treaty of Waitangi between Māori and the government of New Zealand are heard and resolved. The claimants allege that New Zealand has breached its obligations to Māori by failing to implement policies that will address climate change. Specifically, the claimants allege that the Crown has breached the Treaty of Waitangi by: failing to take adequate steps to ensure that New Zealand bears its fair share of greenhouse gas emissions reductions; setting inadequate emissions reductions targets; continuing to ineffectively address New Zealand's emissions through the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (NZETS); failing to develop policies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions outside of the NZETS; and failing to fulfil its Treaty obligations to consult with Māori over climate change policies.
• a declaration from the Tribunal that the government has breached its treaty obligations;
• a recommendation that New Zealand revise its emissions reduction targets upward to a level that corresponds with keeping the global concentration of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions below 450ppm—the level that corresponds with the 2°C threshold that demarcates a stable climate from a potentially unstable one;
• a recommendation that New Zealand adopt different mitigation policies, including the restructuring or replacement of its Emissions Trading Scheme;
• a recommendation that New Zealand adopt policies that facilitate adaptation in ways specific to locations and resources relied upon by Māori.
Related laws and policies
The Climate Change Response Act 2002 established an institutional and legal framework for New Zealand to ratify and meet its obligations and the Kyoto Protocol and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. To this end, the Act authorised the Minister of Finance to manage New Zeal...