7 Sep 2016

PM travels to two major regional summits

10:12 am on 7 September 2016

Trade, security and climate change are the focus of two major regional meetings Prime Minister John Key attends this week.

John Key attends the East Asia Summit in Kuala Lumpur on November 22, 2015

John Key at the East Asia Summit in Kuala Lumpur last year (file). Photo: AFP

The 18-nation East Asia Summit in Laos involves leaders from the 10-nation strong ASEAN grouping and other nations including the United States, Russia, India, China, Australia and New Zealand.

Many of the leaders will be fresh from the G20 meeting in China, where trade, clearer investment rules and a forum to deal with steel over-production have topped the agenda.

Mr Key said the focus of the East Asia Summit was always split between economic matters and security.

"You'll see some discussion about how greater trading integration can happen, how things are progressing with the ASEAN-NZ-Australia FTA, you may even get a bit of a sense behind the scenes from President Obama how he's moving on with TPP.

"My understanding is he's very aggressively still trying to push the agenda for TPP despite what Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have said."

Following the summit Mr Key travels to to the Pacific Islands Forum being held in the Federated States of Micronesia.

Mr Key said climate change and sustainable fisheries management would be high on the agenda.

He said New Zealand was helping the region mitigate against the risks of climate change and had funded a lot of renewable energy projects.

The executive director of Oxfam New Zealand, Rachael Le Mesurier, argues New Zealand is putting too much emphasis on renewable energy and should be helping small island states to adapt to the changing climate.

"Our criticism is that it's not balanced, this is the issue. It's helping the Pacific nations reduce their reliance on diesel, that's actually a really good thing, however it's not helping communities, villages and families respond to increasing sea level, responding to escalating cyclones, responding to the droughts from El Nino - that's not helping."

Labour's Pacific Islands Affairs spokeperson, S'ua William Sio, said New Zealand should also lead by example.

"The only way that we can save the Pacific nations from going underwater is really by reducing our own carbon emissions and that's not just us, that's Australia, that's the United States, Russia, China, all the big indusrialised nations, and that's not happening."

At last year's Pacific Islands Forum in Port Moresby, leaders agreed to send a fact-finding mission to West Papua, but so far that had not come to fruition.

Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty said New Zealand needed to speak up for the people of West Papua.

"New Zealand should be at the Pacific Islands Forum advocating for West Papua to have status at the forum in their own right It's very important that they are recognised as a Pacific nation by the Pacific, and increasingly they are being But New Zealand should also be supporting the idea of an internationally supervised fact-finding mission and vote for independence."

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