John Key needs to front up to Pacific leaders and communities and explain why his Government is not taking climate change seriously, the Green Party said
“Climate change is the biggest risk facing the Pacific. The region is already being disproportionately affected, yet John Key’s head remains stuck in the sand,” said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Tūrei from Samoa, where the Prime Minister is today visiting sites impacted by a cyclone and tsunami.
“Although islanders have done little to contribute to climate change, they are on the frontline of its effects.
“In some parts of the region, climate change is literally destroying people’s homes, and most islands are experiencing impacts on infrastructure, water supply, coastal and forest ecosystems, fisheries, agriculture and human health.
“Meanwhile, back home in New Zealand, John Key has refused to take any meaningful action on climate change.
“Under National’s policies, New Zealand’s net emissions are set to increase by 50 percent in the next 10 years and we are the fifth highest per capita emitters in the developed world.
“What kind of message is this sending our Pacific neighbours, and Pacific Islanders in New Zealand concerned for family and friends back home.
“New Zealand should be doing everything we can to reduce the impacts of climate change for our Pacific whānau. National is making their situation
“John Key often says New Zealand is so small that what we do on climate change does not matter. He should ask Pacific Islanders whether what we do matters. I think he’ll find what we do is very important to them and they are seeking leadership from us on this.”
Metiria Tūrei will meet with Pacific climate activists in Tonga tomorrow, to discuss what action they’d like to see from New Zealand (details below).
The Green Party has just launched a Climate Protection Plan, which would achieve carbon neutrality for New Zealand by 2050, set up an independent Climate Commission and put a price on carbon, the revenue from which will all go back to households and businesses in the form of tax cuts.
“The Green Party is the only political party offering real action on climate change – action that will reduce New Zealand’s emissions, leave households better off and help protect the future of our Pacific neighbours,” said Mrs Tūrei.
For more information on the Climate Protection Plan: www.greens.org.nz/climateplan 
*WHAT:* Metiria Tūrei meeting with climate activists and Red Cross workers in Tonga
*WHERE:*New Zealand High Commission
*WHEN:* Wednesday June 4, 4:30pm – 5:30pm (Tongan time)
06/03/2014 – 20:06