March 11, 2020
Smith forces emitters to defend actions in court
A climate change campaigner says taking some of New Zealand biggest carbon emitters in the court is a way to break the inertia and get real change.
The High Court has dismissed Mike Smith’s claims the companies have been negligent and caused public nuisance but says it will hear his third claim, that they had breached other legal duties.
Mr Smith says Fonterra, Genesis Energy, Dairy Holdings, New Zealand Steele, Zed Energy, the New Zealand Refining Company and BT Mining have deep pockets, so his lawyers will face some legal muscle when the case comes to trial sometime next year.
"What I'm hoping the outcome will be is they are instructed by the courts that they have a legal obligation to clean up their acts and that is going to be good for everybody so I think it's not only going to be good for us but in the long term it is going to be good for them as well. So I think they should just go forward and not put up too much resistance and put their energy into cleaning up their acts rather than fighting for the status quo because the status quo is not tenable. We can't just keep on going the way we are going," Mr Smith says.
Mike Smith says because of the liability for costs if he loses, he is taking the case as an individual rather than for the groups he is part of like the Climate Change Iwi Leaders Group.
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