New Zealand

NZ PM happy with his country's climate change stance

John Key is attending the Forum leaders meeting in Port Moresby which opened last night.

The meeting was preceded by declarations by Small Islands States, NGOs and Fiji's Pacific Islands Development Forum calling for greater action including no more than a 1.5 degree rise in global temperature above pre-industrial levels.

Developed nations have traditionally looked at two degrees as a more realistic target.

Mr Key says he is happy with the work New Zealand has done to fight climate change.

Remainder of NZ aid to Nauru safe for now

Murray McCully halted $1.2 million worth of aid over concerns around the integrity of Nauru's judiciary.

Opposition MPs are currently suspended from parliament and a number of them are facing charges after public protests over alleged government corruption.

Nauru has said New Zealand is interfering in the affairs of a sovereign nation.

But Mr McCully says Nauru's government had assured him that they would work with New Zealand to restore international confidence in the justice sector after two Australian judges were sent packing.

Kiribati urges Australia, NZ to be 'real friends' on climate change

Kiribati president Anote Tong made the call at the Pacific Islands Forum — which started in Port Moresby on Monday — where Pacific nations have gathered to form a united position to take to the Paris COP21 meeting in December.

“What we are talking about is survival, it's not about economic development... it's not politics, it's survival,” Tong said.

Tong said Australia and New Zealand should use their relative regional power to advocate for smaller countries.

Survey of Australians' attitudes to aid yields mixed results

Researchers from the Australian National University surveyed Australians about their opinions of foreign aid and what they expect from their aid programme.

One of the authors, Terence Wood, says in a nutshell, the research found most Australians support the government giving aid, even though many don't actually know how much Australia gives or where.

However, he says the public is also fairly comfortable with the amount of money given being reduced - but not to the Pacific.

Nauru judiciary will continue without NZ aid, says President Waqa

The island leader made the comment in Port Moresby where he has arrived to attend the 46th Pacific Islands Forum summit in response to New Zealand's decision to suspend its US$760,000 aid to Nauru's justice sector.

“Let me assure you nothing will change,” President Waqa told Islands Business magazine. It’s just New Zealand’s decision to withdraw the support, the funding but Nauru will continue.

Australia's inaction on climate change set to dominate Pacific Island talks

The issue will likely dominate this week’s Pacific Islands Forum leaders’ summit in Port Moresby, ahead of the United Nations climate change conference in Paris later in the year.

Pacific leaders want the world to work on restricting the global warming temperature rise to 1.5C, fearing a 2C target will risk the survival of many tiny islands.

Natural disaster recovery will be fresh on their minds. The summit starts on Monday, six months after Cyclone Pam, which flattened much of Vanuatu and caused heavy flooding on Tuvalu, Kiribati and the Marshall Islands.

Aust aid to Nauru not under threat: Bishop

Bishop says she has spoken with President and Foreign Minister of Nauru Baron Waqa and he has given assurances that the rule of law will be upheld.

That follows New Zealand's decision on Thursday to suspend about $NZ1.2 million ($A1.08 million) funding for Nauru's justice sector amid long-running concerns about democratic rights and the rule of law in the Pacific island nation.

Last year, the Nauru government forced the island's then only judge out of office and suspended most of the opposition from parliament indefinitely.

PIDF declaration seen as strong political move

Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says the PIDF has never been stronger and will sign a Suva Declaration, described as a common position on climate change, to take to a global meeting in Paris.

Jenny Hayward-Jones from the Lowy Institute says if the Pacific Islands Forum was to try to do a similar declaration, there could be confusion about which reflected the region.

Hayward-Jones says the timing of the PIDF move, a few days out from the Port Moresby meeting, makes a strong political statement.

Pacific health access improving in NZ

The Ala Mo'ui: Pathways to Pacific Health and Wellbeing plan was launched to identify why there is a gap in health outcomes between Pacific Islanders and other New Zealanders, and to address the disparity.

Associate Health Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga says Pacific Islanders are showing better figures in accessing care from a nurse or doctor compared to the total New Zealand population.

But he says too many Pacific Islanders are affected by diabetes, childhood tooth decay and childhood obesity.


NZ dragging its feet on refugees, says Amnesty

It is estimated this year alone, a third of a million people have crossed the Mediterranean from war-torn countries to get to southern Europe, with almost 3000 people dying in the attempt.

New Zealand executive director of Amnesty International said the country needed to step up, like Germany and Sweden had, and do its fair share to help.

Grant Bayldon said New Zealand had not changed its refugee quota in almost 30 years and was ranked 90th in the world for the number of refugees it took annually.