Ministry Statements & Speeches:
E ngā mana, e ngā reo
Tēnā koutou katoa
Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen.
I would firstly like to thank Singapore for hosting this meeting today, and for allowing me to participate virtually.
It is with great pleasure that I have the opportunity to appear at my first Ministerial Meeting of the Global Governance Group today. Sadly though, these are not easy times, as New Zealand like many other countries continues to face the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. I wish to express my condolences for the losses that many of you are dealing with, and to reaffirm that New Zealand stands with you as we face the health, social and economic consequences of COVID-19.
The continuing evolution of the pandemic and ongoing containment measures will continue to influence the pace and magnitude of our recovery. In particular, we consider that global equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines is critical to slowing the spread of the virus and reducing its impact. New Zealand is committed to global efforts to improve vaccine access worldwide, including through support to COVAX and dose donation.
As we move towards economic recovery from COVID-19, there are opportunities to put climate friendly policies at the forefront. New Zealand is fully committed to the Paris Agreement, and is looking to COP26 to keep the 1.5 degree temperature increase rise within reach. We know that failure on this front will have catastrophic impacts for our Pacific Islands neighbours. Building their resilience to the impacts of climate change and other economic shocks remains a New Zealand priority.
The challenges of the past year have reinforced the importance of coming together to support the rules-based multilateral trading system. We must work together to advance WTO reform to ensure it is ‘fit for purpose’ and able to contribute effectively to existing and future challenges of global concern.
I would like to thank Italy for inviting New Zealand’s trade minister Damien O’Connor to participate as a special guest at this year’s G20 Trade Ministers’ Meeting in our capacity as APEC Chair. As APEC Chair, New Zealand recently brought leaders together to commit to collective action to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic including through cooperation on vaccines, and to promote tools for a sustainable and inclusive economic recovery. We look forward to building on the momentum of what we have achieved at APEC through our participation at the G20 in October.
I look forward to learning from the experiences of my colleagues today as we continue to combat the global pandemic. For Aotearoa New Zealand, this includes working together to reinvigorate our economies while ensuring that we promote environmental resilience, or kaitiakitanga, to safeguard our planet for future generations.
Kia kaha, go well, and thank you.