NZ commits $1.3bn to climate change aid

Ben McKayAAP
New Zealand has pledged $NZ1.3 billion to support vulnerable communities, including Pacific nations.
Camera IconNew Zealand has pledged $NZ1.3 billion to support vulnerable communities, including Pacific nations. Credit: AP

New Zealand has carved off a sizeable chunk of its foreign aid budget towards combating climate change in vulnerable nations, committing $NZ1.3 billion ($A1.2 billion).

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has also confirmed New Zealand will up its climate change pledge at November's climate change conference in Glasgow, known as COP26.

Ms Ardern is a firm climate advocate, calling the passing of the Zero Carbon Act her generation's nuclear-free moment, and supporting a parliamentary declaration of a climate emergency.

She also travelled by boat to the tiny Pacific territory of Tokelau in her first term in office.

Ms Ardern - who is not attending COP26 - says New Zealand will release its "Nationally Determined Contribution" (NDC) in the next fortnight.

"We need to ensure that our nationally determined contribution was in keeping with a 1.5 degree target because that's what we've got embedded in the Zero Carbon Act.

"We asked the Climate Commission to give us advice, they gave us a steer that it needed to increase, and now we're doing the work to see what that looks like."

Half of New Zealand's climate aid commitment will go towards Pacific nations.

Ms Ardern said the funding would "assist lower income countries to protect lives, livelihoods and infrastructure from the impacts of climate change".

"I have seen and heard first-hand the impact of climate change in our region," she said.

"We need to continue to step up our support for our Pacific family and neighbours who are on the front line of climate change and need our support most."

Ms Ardern is not heading to COP26 as New Zealand has hosting duties of the overlapping APEC leaders summit.

Climate Change Minister James Shaw will attend on her behalf, undertaking 14 days of quarantine on return to New Zealand.

The aid pledge matches a similar announcement from the United Kingdom on a per capita basis.

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