The Government’s decision to commit $1.3 billion over four years to support poorer countries to deal with climate change is the wrong one, given New Zealand is still struggling with lockdowns that have no end in sight.
The $1.3 billion contribution is a four-fold increase to what was previously given. At a time when our biggest city remains heavily restricted and businesses are struggling, is now really the right time to be increasing our overseas aid?
The National Party has long understood the risks of climate change, particularly for our Pacific neighbours. We know that emissions targets need to be met because we signed up to the Paris Agreement in 2015 when we were in government.
Our Pacific neighbours are hugely important to us. Reducing the total amount of climate aid but giving 100 per cent of it to the Pacific would be far more meaningful, given the circumstances.
Right now, with Auckland largely shut down, the South Island unnecessarily restricted and New Zealanders having no idea when we will get out of this, to commit more than $1 billion to international climate aid is not the right call at this time. This lockdown has already cost New Zealand billions of dollars, and it is irresponsible to be spending more on aid.
New Zealanders understandably thought that the Climate Change Minister going to COP26 and taking 10 MIQ rooms away from New Zealanders who want to return home was poor form.
But spending this kind of money at a time like this is frankly a step too far.
The Government is being generous with borrowed money.
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