23 Apr 2014

New Zealand's McCully taking EU and ADB around Pacific

4:47 am on 23 April 2014

New Zealand's foreign minister Murray McCully will travel to Pacific countries today on a joint mission with members of the European Union, promoting renewable energy projects.

Samoa, Tuvalu, Kiribati, and the Cook Islands are on the itinerary, and it follows last year's Pacific Energy Summit, where New Zealand pledged 545 million US dollars to help Pacific nations achieve 50 per cent of their electricity from renewable means.

Alex Perrottet reports.

"The European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, as well as representatives from the Asian Development Bank, the United Nations and the International Renewable Energy Agency will be on board. Mr McCully says the mission is an opportunity to view progress on renewable energy initiatives. The first stop in Samoa will be a progress check on a 12 million US dollar solar energy project, while it will be photovoltaic energy in Tuvalu and an EU groundwater project in Kiribati. The officials will attend an Anzac Day dawn service on Tarawa Atoll, in Kiribati, where in 1942, seventeen New Zealand Coastwatchers, together with five British and Australian civilians, were executed by Japanese forces. In Kiribati Commissioner Piebalgs will launch a barge that will protect Tarawa's beaches from silt build-up and open a laboratory dedicated to monitoring and responding to environmental diseases."