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Key sticks out like a sore thumb on Copenhagen

27 November 2009

Key sticks out like a sore thumb on Copenhagen

News that Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will attend the climate summit in Copenhagen next month puts further pressure on Prime Minister John Key to do the right thing and also attend, the Green Party said today.

The news follows the announcement yesterday that US President Barack Obama will briefly attend the Copenhagen climate talks. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon today also urged Commonwealth leaders, including Mr Key, to go to Copenhagen.

“New Zealand is increasingly sticking out like a sore thumb by not throwing the weight of our highest office behind these crucial talks,” Green Party MP Jeanette Fitzsimons said.

“With every announcement that another world leader is going, we look more and more out of step with the rest of the world.

“The more heads of government attend, the more likely the conference is to achieve the goal of agreeing the framework for a legally binding climate treaty,” Ms Fitzsimons said.

Ms Fitzsimons noted that leaders attend international negotiations when they have something to offer on behalf of their country, and send their juniors to front when they want to say ‘no’.

“The sad conclusion is that as the world tries to agree binding commitments to reduce climate emissions, New Zealand wants to hit the brakes rather than the accelerator.

“It would be embarrassing for Mr Key to front up with the weakened emissions trading scheme his Government has just forced through, which Climate Change Minister Nick Smith admitted in the House yesterday will actually result in an increase in New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions.

“New Zealand’s track record on climate change is unfortunately out of step with the clean green image we sell to the rest of the world. If we want that brand to retain any integrity, we need to take our climate change responsibilities seriously.

“John Key going to Copenhagen would be a good start,” Ms Fitzsimons said.

Ms Fitzsimons and fellow Green MP Kennedy Graham will be in Copenhagen for the talks.

ENDS

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