The Government must listen to Pacific leaders and start taking climate change seriously on the international stage, the Green Party said today.
"In addressing the United Nations today, John Key said he hoped Paris would amount to a meaningful agreement on climate change,” said Green Party co-leader James Shaw. "And yet the emissions reduction target that New Zealand is taking to Paris is embarrassingly weak.”
"Key has been in talks with Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama. If the National Government is serious about rebuilding their relationship with Fiji, they should listen to Prime Minister Bainimarama's warning of an influx of people displaced by climate change.
“Although Prime Minister Bainimarama has a poor track record on human rights, he’s not wrong when he says these people will be as “desperate and lost as the hundreds of thousands fleeing conflict in Syria and Iraq”.
“Fiji has already committed to accepting people from Pacific nations threatened by sea level rise, even while they have planned for their own people to be affected. They have plans to move 45 Fijian villages.
“The reality of climate change is already being felt in the Pacific – and New Zealand is doing almost nothing to curb our own emissions, which are contributing to climate change in the first place.
“Yesterday, leaders from Nauru, Vanuatu, and Samoa addressed the United Nations General Assembly and echoed Prime Minister Bainimarama’s call for action.
“Key asked for a meaningful agreement in Paris. This meaningful agreement starts at home," said Mr Shaw.