He Waka Eke Noa: Willie Jackson 'bitter' over burp tax axing

  • 14/06/2024

Labour MP Willie Jackson is "bitter" the Coalition Government has scrapped climate change initiative He Waka Eke Noa after years of work. 

The Coalition announced earlier this week the partnership, which was tasked with pricing emissions aka the 'burp tax', will be disbanded.  

Appearing on AM's panel alongside National minister Chris Penk, Jackson said the move was shocking. 

"Didn't we do a great job? ... We pulled the industry together right." 

"You pulled it apart," Penk interjected. 

Introduced in 2008, He Waka Eke Noa was a partnership between Government agencies, the primary sector and iwi that came up with a proposal for how to price agricultural emissions. It was intended as an alternative to bringing agriculture under the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).  

It was long backed by both major parties but National pulled support for the initiative last year after the previous Government rejected the groups' original proposal.   

Penk said He Waka Eke Noa wasn't working and the Government needs to constructively work with the farming sector. 

"They're the greenest farmers in the world... if we make life too hard for them [and] drive them out of business, then production overseas will ramp up and, if anything, we are worse off. The world will be warmer and our people will be poorer," Penk said. 

However, Jackson disagreed - saying the partnership was killed by environmentalists and "nutjob farmers". 

"We actually had an agreement; we had a commitment. We had a wonderful Prime Minister in Jacinda Ardern who started this, Chippy [Chris Hipkins] was going to finish it but as soon as there's a gap, as soon as there's a hole, these guys jump in and go, 'No more, we'll get rid of it, we'll go back to zero,'" Jackson said of the National Party. 

"…I feel a bit bitter about it because we did so much work." 

Watch the full panel above.