Mahuta’s climate change speech and statements help us keep tabs on government spending in the Pacific

Buzz from the Beehive

Weather reports have dominated the news media, as heavy rain, flooding and high winds devastated regions like Nelson/Tasman and Northland. But just one flood-focused press statement had flowed from the Beehive, when we checked this morning, since our previous Buzz was posted.

Emergency Management Minister Kieran McAnulty announced an initial government contribution of $200,000 to the Mayoral Relief Fund to help communities in Nelson/Tasman.

All other statements – and a speech – were related to Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta’s travels to Niue and Tonga and were focused on issues affecting our Pacific neighbours, especially climate change.

They usefully allow us to keep tabs on the sums of money the Ardern government is committing to its relationship with Pacific island countries.

Most notably, in Tonga, Mahuta launched New Zealand’s International Climate Finance Strategy and (among other sums) mentioned a $1.3 billion investment  She explained how this “can be a positive force multiplier, bringing other major players into the region”.

Mahuta harked back to the shockwave from the 15 January eruption of Hunga-Tonga Hunga-Ha’apai  “which travelled at astonishing speeds to Japan, to Peru, to Tūtūkaka in the north of Aotearoa, and even to the edges of space, affecting our shared atmosphere and climate.”

She said nothing was more challenging to the region’s security than climate change, before mapping out some new details of New Zealand’s approach to climate resilience.

An accompanying press statement, in the names of Mahuta and Climate Change Minister James Shaw, said a new strategy to drive investment in climate action in the Pacific and globally outlines how decisions will be made for spending the record $1.3 billion commitment for mitigation and adaptation.

The Aotearoa New Zealand International Climate Finance Strategy, Tuia te Waka a Kiwa, sets out the approach to deliver the scaled-up climate finance commitment made last year.

The Strategy has four key goals: to enhance resilience and adaptation; promote quicker action on mitigation; improve information to allow evidence-based decisions; and leverage our investments to make greater impact.

Nanaia Mahuta also announced a new investment of $8 million from the climate finance commitment into Tonga’s Climate Change Fund. Tonga established the Fund to receive and direct investments towards mitigation and adaptation projects.

The statement recalls previous climate finance initiatives in the Pacific from the 2022-25 commitment include:

  • $15 million announced by the Prime Minister during a visit to Samoa, to support the delivery of Samoa’s climate change priorities. This will help build Samoa’s resilience to the impacts of climate change and its transition to a low emissions economy.
  • $500,000 to Niue announced by the Foreign Minister during this week’s visit, to complete the design and planning of renewable energy projects. Niue has a target of 80% renewable electricity generation.

Another statement recorded that Mahuta had wrapped up her first official visit to Niue, reaffirming New Zealand’s commitment to work together to strengthen resilience in the region and support climate action.

During the visit Mahuta met Niue Premier Dalton Tagelagi and Cabinet, and was the first outside speaker to address a special session of the Niue Legislative Assembly, the Fale Fono II.

She and Premier Tagelagi discussed New Zealand’s climate finance contributions, and how to enable Niue to meet its climate change priorities, and confirmed a further $500,000 investment from the 2022-2025 international climate finance commitment to complete design and planning for Niue’s renewable energy projects.

This builds on $5 million for solar generation from a previous climate packageannounced by the Prime Minister in 2018. Niue has a target of 80% renewable generation, Nanaia Mahuta said.

A statement, designed for Tongan consumption, said New Zealand will partner with Tonga (“to further support resilience and recovery from natural disasters”) with a deployment of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel for engineering rebuilding projects.

In this statement, Nanaia Mahuta and Defence Minister Peeni Henare announced Exercise Tropic Twilight will take place in Tonga in 2023. The 2022 exercise has just been completed in Niue.

Henare said:

“The tasks for the next deployment will be determined with Tonga, with the aim of providing practical assistance in an area where it is needed most. This work is a demonstration of New Zealand’s continued commitment to Tonga’s recovery and long-term resilience.”

He also said the New Zealand Defence Force is “committed to upholding the whanaungatanga between our two nations.”

We imagine this is an admirable thing for the Defence Force to be doing. Otherwise, the Minister would not have mentioned it.

Latest from the Beehive

Speech

19 AUGUST 2022

Launch of Aotearoa New Zealand’s International Climate Finance Strategy

Ancient Tonga Cultural Centre

Supporting climate action in the Pacific

A new strategy to drive investment in climate action in the Pacific and globally outlines how decisions will be made for spending the record $1.3 billion commitment for mitigation and adaptation.

Tonga to host next Tropic Twilight exercise

Aotearoa New Zealand will partner with Tonga to further support resilience and recovery from natural disasters, with a deployment of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel for engineering and rebuilding

 Storm relieGovernment provides support to flooded Nelson Tasman communities

The Government is making an initial contribution of $200,000 to the Mayoral Relief Fund to help communities in Nelson/Tasman following prolonged heavy rain, flooding, and high winds this week.

Working together on resilience and climate action in Niue

Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta has wrapped up her first official visit to Niue, reaffirming Aotearoa New Zealand’s commitment to work together to strengthen resilience in the region and support climate action.

2 thoughts on “Mahuta’s climate change speech and statements help us keep tabs on government spending in the Pacific

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