Last month Pacific Media Network (PMN) reporter Mabel Muller attended the public consultation hui, pictured above, on the Zero Carbon Bill in Manukau, Southside Auckland. This is Mabel Muller’s report.
The Ministry for the Environment has been hosting public consultations around the country this year to gauge feedback on the government’s Zero Carbon Bill. The Bill aims to reduce New Zealand’s gas emissions and create a more sustainable economy.
It was hoped the South Auckland hui would provide an opportunity for Pacific people to have their say.
As it turned out, Emily Muli was the only Pacific person at the hui. She is a climate change advocate and founded Mission To Zero, an initiative to raise awareness among Pacific communities on one of the biggest issues facing the Pacific region at present.
Emily Muli says the lack of environmental education is one of the reasons Pacific people don’t engage in the government’s climate change conversations. Including environmental studies in schools was a question posed at the hui.
“Before we even have a consultation on a bill about climate change, where’s the consultation about education around it? A lot of us don’t know our Pacific regions are being impacted directly.”
Muli says the hui was informative and insightful but more needs to be done to reach Pacific people, whose home islands are facing the worst of climate change impacts.
“Yes you can come out to South Auckland and host a hui but is that just a tick of a box, or would you make the effort to actually go in to Pacific groups, sit down and have that korero?”
The Ministry’s director of climate change, Janine Smith, says they have resources available around the Bill and are working to push that out to communities such as Pacific peoples.
“We do have some of those already and we can think about how we can put those into communities to have more mainstream uptake of some of that material as well,” she says.