National has been warned its plans to double renewable energy across the country must respect the rights of mana whenua with electricity companies profiteering off taonga -- resources -- originally taken off Maori by the Crown.
During a visit to Contact Energy's geothermal Te Mihi Power Station near Taupo yesterday, party leader Christopher Luxon said doing so would be a "bottom line".
Luxon also called on climate change deniers to "give it up", vowing that any government he led would meet all emissions reduction targets.
Luxon spent yesterday in Taupo with local MP Louise Upston, who has held the seat since 2008.
The visit was a chance to discuss National's approach to bringing down greenhouse gas emissions and meeting climate change targets.Dominic Bowden of Ngati Tuwharetoa, who handles tangata whenua relationships with Contact Energy, said projects like the Ta Mihi geothermal power station were important for the local economy but there were also environmental and cultural impacts, such as for hot and cold springs, puna and ngawha.
"Hapu, iwi feel this was a resource, a taonga, taken off them some time ago which the Crown then offloaded to private enterprise."
Luxon stated any new renewable energy projects would uphold any existing Treaty of Waitangi settlements and claims -- "that is a bottom line here".
Luxon said he would ensure New Zealand met all of its climate change targets, including the first emissions reduction budget by 2025.
He said there would be no place in any future government he led for climate change deniers.
"Give it up. You can't be a climate denier or a climate minimalist in 2023. It's real, it's happening, the science is true."
Later during a walkabout in the main streets of Taupo, Luxon was given a largely warm reception.
He was recognised by passers-by, with some calling out his name and support for the party from their cars.