17 Nov 2018

Climate change and security to be discussed at APEC summit

9:20 pm on 17 November 2018

The Prime Minister has arrived in Papua New Guinea for the APEC leaders' summit, where climate change, regional development and trade, are expected to be discussed.

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Jacinda Ardern arrives at Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea, for the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation summit. Photo: RNZ / Gyles Beckford

Jacinda Ardern is spending less than a day at the annual meeting of the 21 Asia and Pacific countries.

She was met at Port Moresby airport by PNG's deputy Prime Minister and welcomed by a performance from a traditional sing-sing group.

Ms Ardern said the summit will give her and other Pacific leaders, who have been invited as observers, the chance to press the need for action of climate change.

She said she will also take up the lack of women in Pacific politics and governments with Island leaders.

Security is tight in the PNG capital, with foreign warships including the patrol vessel Otago, stationed in the harbour.

Two large cruise ships are being used to house delegates and officials.

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One of two large cruise ships being used to accommodate thousands of officials, media and observers at the APEC summit in Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea. Photo: RNZ / Gyles Beckford

Trade, security, and climate change are expected to dominate discussions among leaders at the APEC leaders' summit.

PNG is APEC's smallest member and is the first Pacific Island state to host the gathering.

Ms Ardern earlier said she expected issues related to development, climate change, and digitalisation of economies to be discussed along with more normal trade and security.

"What I hope though that as the first Pacific host to have a conversation around growth and development, some issues around climate change because we are still trying to lift the profile of climate change in this region."

New Zealand has given $15 million to PNG to help stage the summit, but it's been earmarked for training and security.

Questions have been asked whether it was appropriate for PNG to spend large amounts when much of the population lives subsistence existences or in poverty.

A decision to spend millions on buying 40 Maserati luxury cars has been widely criticised, although PNG officials have refused to hold an inquiry into the deal.

Ms Ardern said she would not be riding in one of the fast Italian cars, and instead would use a mid-range SUV.

Australia and China have also been big financial backers of the summit, and Australia is also deeply involved in providing security.

In addition to the leaders' retreat Ms Ardern will visit a large produce market, which New Zealand aid money has helped to renovate.

China's leader Xi Jinping is attending, but neither Donald Trump nor Vladimir Putin will be there.