New Zealand's National Statement to COP26

E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā iwi, e ngā rau rangatira mā. 

Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.

Mr President, Excellencies, Delegates.

Aotearoa New Zealand’s closest neighbours are among those first and worst hit by the climate crisis - but who have contributed the least to global emissions.

To illustrate what this means, last year our government was asked to assist a Pacific nation with the massive task of moving 42 villages inland, away from the rising waves. 

For some this isn’t even an option. 

Villages in low-lying countries like Tuvalu, Tokelau and Kiribati have nowhere inland to go.

I say this, Mr. President, because the work that my officials and I are here to do is important beyond New Zealand’s borders. 

***

Ten days ago, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and I made a commitment that the climate pollution that New Zealand is responsible for in the year 2030 will be half what it is today.

Our upgraded Nationally Determined Contribution brings New Zealand up to speed with commitments others have made. 

And it came off the back of a four fold increase in the contribution New Zealand will make to the $100 billion climate finance promise we have all made. 

But, as we all know, addressing the climate crisis is not just about setting long-term emission reduction targets. 

It is about actually making a great many changes, large and small, that together will add up to a better, cleaner future.

***

Since I last addressed this gathering, New Zealand has taken some significant strides towards our zero carbon future.

Last month we passed legislation requiring companies to report to shareholders on their climate related risks. 

We have also made it easier for people to purchase low emission vehicles. 

And quadrupled the amount New Zealand Green Investment Finance has available to invest in the low carbon technologies of the future.

Is it enough? Not even close. 

That is why next year we will publish an Emissions Reduction Plan setting the direction for climate action in New Zealand for the next 15 years. 

***

Mr President, what we do here over the next few days will have a profound impact on the type of world our children and grandchildren inherit from us. 

My officials and I stand ready to agree to a common and transparent reporting system, as well as a system of cooperation and environmental integrity worthy of the promise laid out in Article 6 of the Paris Agreement.

We are also ready to agree to new opportunities for increased support for Pacific countries suffering loss and damage.  

As we each continue the hard work of bringing emissions down in our own countries, we need to foster a just transition that leaves no country, community or person behind.

Nature-based solutions and the rights and the role of indigenous peoples are also critical in the fight against the climate crisis.

***

Mr President, since 1990, the year the world collectively decided we needed to start reducing emissions, the world has roughly doubled the amount of carbon dioxide we put into the atmosphere since the start of the Industrial Revolution.

Political leaders at the time knew what was unfolding.

They had a chance to stop it. 

But they didn’t.

And so, it falls to us. 

Right here. Right now. 

No reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tatou katoa.