Speech delivered by Hon Paula Bennett Minister for Climate Change Issues, 22 April 2016.

 E nga mana, e nga reo, e te iwi o te motu, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.   New Zealand welcomes the ambition expressed in the Sustainable Development Goals.

The challenge we face is to ensure they make a difference.

If the SDGs are to be more than a piece of paper, we need to have a clear plan, identify actions, build ownership, and measure results.  And in doing so, we must avoid the trap of mistaking activity for achievement and we must learn from our experience in implementing the Millennium Development Goals. 

As a small country, we place a high premium on efficiency and avoiding duplication or process for its own sake.

There is a lot of alignment between the objectives contained in the SDGs and what the New Zealand Government is already working to achieve. Growing the economy, improving living standards, health, and education, creating jobs, increasing the supply of affordable housing, encouraging women in leadership, keeping our communities safe, and protecting our environment: these are some of the issues that are of greatest importance to New Zealanders, and where the New Zealand Government is focussing our hard work.

It’s what citizens expect, and it’s why I work for them in Government.

New Zealand is committed to playing its part in combatting climate change.

I look forward to signing the Paris Agreement on behalf of New Zealand tomorrow.

For New Zealand, sustainable development is underpinned by economic growth.

The Government is working to deliver a faster-growing economy, more jobs and rising incomes.

The Government is committed to supporting families and children, to helping more people get into work, and improving living standards, including through affordable housing.

We are also working toward these objectives in our Pacific neighbourhood where 60% of our international development budget is spent.  To meet the ambition of the SDGs we need focus, selectivity, and prioritisation.  

In our aid programme we are prioritising investments to shift Pacific nations from a dependence on expensive fossil fuels and to provide access to renewable electricity, especially solar power.   We are working with our neighbours to ensure they get a fair return from their fisheries, and that the ocean in our region remains healthy and productive.  

New Zealand will continue to prioritise development activities that are real game-changers, and in this way, we look forward to working with our development partners to meet the ambition set out in the SDGs.

Thank you.