28 Apr 2014

NZ pledges energy and aviation help for Kiribati

8:13 am on 28 April 2014

New Zealand has pledged further help in energy and aviation for Christmas Islands in Kiribati.

The foreign minister Murray McCully was on the island on Saturday and heard from ministry officials, who said since the upgrade of the runway in 2012, more money needs to be spent on maintenance, to avoid having to spend many more millions upgrading it again.

Mr McCully says the airstrip will help grow tourism, and converting to renewable energy will make fisheries more productive.

He says on average about ten per cent of a developing country's GDP goes into purchasing diesel fuel, and he is happy there is now the political will to move away from fossil fuels.

"Having been in this job long enough to become a bit frustrated with processes when it comes to getting things done, I think there's been remarkable progress on the renewable energy programme since the meeting that took place about a year ago. There's quite a bit of stuff that's actually happening on the ground and we're making good progress in other developments."

Murray McCully.