New Zealand climate aid cuts hurting Pacific

National needs to reverse its cuts to our Pacific climate aid programme, as a new report shows food and water shortages have worsened across the region, the Green Party said today.

Caritas’ State of the Environment report, released today, says the Pacific has faced widespread hunger and thirst in 2016 as a result of El Niño and climate change. It describes climate-related support to the region as “inadequate” and notes that climate aid from New Zealand declined in 2016. This reflects information obtained by the Green Party which exposed a $13 million per year cut in climate aid to the Pacific.

“It beggars belief that National is reducing support for Pacific communities at a time when food and water shortages are clearly getting worse,” said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.

“People are going hungry and thirsty in our own backyard, and yet our Government has opted to cut aid to the people who need it the most.

“We can’t claim to be responsible global citizens when we’re only offering the bare minimum of aid to our Pacific neighbours, whose day-to-day lives are being severely impacted by climate change.

“I’m concerned not just by the reduction in aid, but also by consistent reports from aid organisations that the Government is not directing climate aid to those most in need.

“This is the second report to highlight that the Government is spending disproportionate amounts of climate aid on high-profile economic development projects, like its $9 million inter-Island shipping programme in Vanuatu, at the expense of essential projects to secure access to clean water and develop climate-resilient crops.

“Helping our Pacific neighbours shouldn’t be about generating some good headlines for big-ticket projects.

“The Government should be targeting more of its aid at the most vulnerable, small communities in the Pacific whose livelihoods are put at risk by climate change,” said Mr Shaw.

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