Delivered by Craig J. Hawke, Permanent Representative of the New Zealand Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York, 18 July 2019

Madam President,

In 2015, New Zealand welcomed the 2030 Agenda in substance and ambition.

In doing so, we noted that what mattered was not its adoption, but whether the international community and countries would make the hard calls to make the goals attainable. In 2019, many of those hard calls are still to be made.

The task for New Zealand, and indeed for all countries, is one of transformation.

For New Zealand transformation means, to improve wellbeing in ways which protect our environment, build an inclusive and productive economy, while dramatically reducing our reliance on carbon emissions. In addition to achieve a transformation that is fair and just.

It is not an easy task but New Zealand and New Zealanders are determined to take on the challenge. And we are taking concrete steps on the journey:  

First, we have adopted a Living Standards Framework that requires us to prioritise and plan across social, economic, cultural and environmental dimensions of well-being.

Second, in May 2019 the Government delivered its first Well-being Budget.

Third, we have developed a new suite of indicators to measure and report performance on improving the well-being of New Zealanders.

And fourth, we are establishing institutions and targets for long term change.   For example a Carbon Zero Bill, a Climate Change Commission, legislated targets on child poverty reduction, and a predator free 2050 target.

We are applying a just transitions approach; building a transition away from a fossil fuel dependent economy, while supporting affected people and communities.

We’re also working internationally:

As an international community we must start incentivising the change we want to see.

New Zealand’s advocacy for reform of environmentally harmful subsidies recognises that incentives matter. 

As a Pacific country, we strongly support the sustainable development efforts of the small island developing states, particularly in our region.

We are strengthening our partnerships and financing for mutually beneficial development cooperation that supports SDG implementation.

We will support a substantive and forward looking mid-terms review of the SAMOA Pathway.

In our view, the international community has yet to fully grapple with the issues of enduring scale and vulnerability of SIDS.

Finally, we are not waiting for a changing climate to happen.  We are taking on climate change.  

We are tackling our biggest climate emissions challenge, emissions from our agriculture sector.  We are sharing those lessons with the world, through the Global Research Alliance on Greenhouse Gases.

Madam President, New Zealand is taking up the challenge to achieve the transformation agenda that is just and inclusive.