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NZ: Green Party slams NZ PM over 'inaction' on Pacific climate change

This was the level of emissions in New Zealand in 2008, and emissions have increased since then. Image:

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Item: 8646

WELLINGTON (Pacific Media Watch / Pacific Scoop / Radio New Zealand): New Zealand Prime Minister John Key is not taking climate change seriously, the Green Party says.

Key is currently on a five-day trip to Samoa, Tonga and Niue, which ends tomorrow.

He has already promised the Samoan Tourism Authority a grant of NZ$900 000 to promote tourism and mooted welcoming Fiji back to the Pacific Islands Forum if September's elections in Fiji prove "free and fair".

Key said the NZ government was also "considering" increasing the annual quota of seasonal work permits for Pacific Islanders from 8000 to 10,000 work permits per year.

But the NZ Green Party says Key should instead be explaining to Pacific leaders and communities why the NZ government is not doing enough to stop climate change.

Key is the leader of a party whose policies will result in New Zealand's net emissions increasing by 50 percent over the next 10 years, say the Greens.

“Climate change is the biggest risk facing the Pacific. The region is already being disproportionately affected, yet John Key’s head remains stuck in the sand,” said Green Party co-leader Metiria Tūrei.

“...we are the fifth highest per capita emitters in the developed world. What kind of message is this sending our Pacific neighbours, and Pacific Islanders in New Zealand concerned for family and friends back home?" Tūrei asked.

Tūrei herself is set to meet Tongan activists today to ask them what they want the NZ government to do about its high emission rates.

The Greens have already announced that if they are elected in the NZ national elections this year, they will scrap the emissions trading scheme and replace it with a tax on carbon of NZ$25 per tonne. They aim to make New Zealand carbon neutral by 2050.

Gordon Campbell on the Greens' carbon tax

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Pacific Media Watch is compiled for the Pacific Media Centre as a regional media freedom and educational resource by a network of journalists, students, stringers and commentators.
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