New Zealand prime minister to attend Pacific Islands Forum

Remigio Civitarese
Agosto 13, 2019

"Australia meets its commitments, and we will always meet our commitments", Morrison said on Tuesday when asked how he reconciled the environmental aid package with the Adani mine approval.

"Scott Morrison's priority ... must be to ramp up ambition on climate change", said Pat Conroy, Labor's spokesman on worldwide development and the Pacific.

"We have ... hundreds of millions of dollars of investments in those projects and other mitigation works that are undertaken throughout the region", he said.

"So, it really does come down to who is prepared to give ground and where".

Mr Bainimarama welcomed efforts by Australia and New Zealand to improve relations with Fiji and the region more broadly, but that did not stop him pushing for them to do more domestically to limit climate change.

Following an agreement at the Council of Australian Governments meeting in Cairns on Friday to end the export of recyclables - with the timetable to be thrashed out by state environment leaders later this year - Scott Morrison said the deal was in part aimed at addressing the environmental concerns of Pacific nations.

While Pacific states are focused squarely on climate change, the Australian delegation is keeping an eye on China's growing influence in the region. Only recently have Australia and its Western Allies made attempts to counter China's economic aid to Pacific Islanders, a case of closing the barn door after the horses have run out.

Labor's Pat Conroy believes stronger climate change policies are key to lasting relationships.

"Pacific leaders, including New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden, will gather at Tuvalu, where the community is grappling with the extreme toll of climate damage - where rising seas and higher storm surges are already swallowing land and contaminating scarce water supplies, and where homes, livelihoods and the fate of an entire nation are at stake", Le Mesurier said.

Fiji's Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama is returning to the regional forum for the first time in many years and can be expected to make his presence felt.

On Wednesday (14 August) Minister Wheeler will travel to Tuvalu to attend the Pacific Island Forum and meet Pacific Island leaders to discuss a number of important global issues, such as better cooperation on climate change and the ocean, and on upholding the rules-based worldwide system.

He said in a statement that the full details of the package would be revealed when he attends a meeting of the Pacific Islands Forum in Tuvalu this week.

But host Tuvalu will be ensuring their visitors can't avoid their biggest challenge: climate change and its threat to the nation's fragile reefs.

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