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2022 Budget Reaction: Big Hearts Connected World

“We are disappointed that, once again, this government has not increased its contribution to global efforts to halt the fall of families across the world into extreme poverty,” says Big Hearts organisations Anglican Missions, Christian Blind Mission, Christian World Service, Oxfam Aotearoa, Tearfund, Trade Aid, the Wellington Anglican Diocese, UnionAid and World Vision. 

“The hardship we experience is connected. Our response must be this connected, too. As a people, we are generous. Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the Tongan volcanic eruption and the war in Ukraine, our agencies have experienced the generosity of everyday New Zealanders who want to share what they have with people who are suffering extreme poverty and the loss of their homes. 

“When will our government match our people’s generosity?” says Big Hearts organisations. 

On top of the climate destruction and the coronavirus pandemic, the war in Ukraine has had a ripple effect across the world, where communities across the globe feel the impact of rising food prices. Between April 2020 and December 2021 there was an 80 percent increase in the price of wheat alone, making food out of reach for millions of people. 

Big Hearts organisations continue: “In the words of Gabriela Bucher from Oxfam, ‘starvation is a political failure’. It is the result of governments across the world, like here in New Zealand, refusing to help people get the food they need to survive. 

“People in Syria have never been so hungry – three in five people in Syria do not know where their next meal will come from. Families in countries like Yemen and Ethiopia exist in famine-like conditions – every day wondering if they will have the very basic fundamental of life – food – watching their children waste away in front of them. One person every 48 seconds is likely dying of hunger seconds in drought-ravaged Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia,” say Big Hearts organisations. 

“Now more than ever, we need to pull together as one human family, so that we all make it through the triple crises of a public health pandemic, the global rise in cost of living and climate destruction.  

“As a high-income country, Aotearoa New Zealand is able to both support its own people through this hardship, as well as make a small contribution to help people who face starvation and deprivation across the world in low-income countries.” 



There is a significant increase in the international development cooperation budget, but this is all comprised of last year’s welcome climate finance announcement. It is not overseas aid. There is a stated $75 million contingency for Pacific countries, but it appears that this comes from the existing overseas aid budget. Overall, there is no apparent increase in the overseas development assistance budget. 

Food prices were already high before the Ukraine crisis with an increase in wheat prices of 80 percent between April 2020 and December 2021. The FAO Food Price Index which tracks the international prices of food items, has risen to a new all-time high, exceeding the previous top of 2011. Additional price hikes and food inflation are likely, with inflation extending to fertilisers and energy.  

One person every 48 seconds is likely dying of hunger seconds in drought-ravaged Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, Dangerous delay 2: the cost of inaction | Oxfam International. 

Global crises, worsened by the economic turmoil of COVID-19 and more recently by the Ukraine conflict, have pushed food prices to an all-time high in March 2022 – up by 12.6 percent over February – which is putting food ever more out of reach for millions of people. See here

Oxfam supports Partnering for Resilience approach to Aotearoa New Zealand’s Pacific engagement

Oxfam Aotearoa Executive Director Rachael Le Mesurier said:

“The Minister’s speech today outlined a deeper approach to Aotearoa New Zealand’s relationships with Pacific Island Countries. Building on the Pacific Reset of 2018, the Minister has articulated yet another step-change to the nature of Aotearoa New Zealand’s relationships across te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa.

“The move to focus on building long-term resilience across the region, with an enduring inter-generational approach will be key to Aotearoa supporting Pacific people to make the lasting and meaningful changes that they wish to see in their own countries.

“The emphasis on Pacific-led solutions and relationships of openness, trust and respect that Minister Mahuta described resonates with us at Oxfam, as this is also our approach to working with our colleagues and partners across the Pacific. We also know how challenging it can be to put these values into practice across the diversity of Pacific Island countries and peoples.

“We were pleased to hear that there will be a focus within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) on cultural competency and diversity. We question whether further changes will also be necessary across MFAT, and other government departments, to fully implement the values-based approach the Minister outlined today.

“We look forward to working alongside our Pacific partners and MFAT, to achieve inclusion, prosperity, peace and well-being for all peoples across the great Blue Continent.”

Reaction to Scotland announcement on Loss and Damage fund

Responding to the announcement that the Scottish Government has pledged £1 million (NZ$1.9 million) for ‘loss and damage’, Jamie Livingstone, Head of Oxfam Scotland, said:

“The First Minister’s announcement today is ground breaking recognition that funding to help certain people adapt to the climate crisis is utterly useless when their entire community has been wiped off the map.

“This announcement is welcome acknowledgement that for some communities around the world, talk of limiting the damage of climate change has already come far, far too late. In many places, climate change has already caused irreversible damage to people’s homes, lives and livelihoods. Despite this grim truth; world leaders have continued to duck calls to establish a new funding mechanism for loss and damage. Other countries must now follow Scotland’s lead and offer dedicated financial support to countries where lives have already been lost and ruined because of climate change.”

In addition, Alex Johnston, Oxfam Aotearoa Campaign Lead, said:

“We congratulate Scotland for recognising the devastating impacts of climate change on climate vulnerable countries, and being the first developed nation to commit to making an explicit financial contribution to tackling the loss and damage climate breakdown creates.

“Pacific Islands have been calling for loss and damage finance to be addressed globally for over 30 years. Despite efforts to adapt, climate-charged cyclones and flooding causes asset losses worth hundreds of millions of dollars in the Pacific each year. It is crucial other world leaders follow suit and recognise that these events need distinct funds to recover from.

“We call for the New Zealand government to follow Scotland’s lead and scale up financial support to existing loss and damage finance solutions in the Pacific with new commitments, and label this support as loss and damage, not adaptation finance. The government should also align with Pacific Island Countries’ positions on loss and damage at COP26 to get a global response to this issue.”

Oxfam Aotearoa: NDC announcement a betrayal to Pacific Island countries

The New Zealand government’s NDC announcement is a betrayal to Pacific Island countries and those on the frontlines of climate change says Oxfam Aotearoa Executive Director Rachael Le Mesurier. The Government’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) target sets the bar for New Zealand’s contribution to keeping global warming within 1.5 degrees under the Paris Agreement. However, Le Mesurier says that the target is not good enough: 

“Let’s be real here, this is not our fair share. The government has changed the way they count our emissions reductions to make them look like they are doing more than they are. This is a government that has said time and again that climate change is our nuclear-free moment. Instead of leading the fight against climate breakdown, they are hiding their inaction by changing the goal posts. 

“Our previous target was to reduce emissions to 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 on an emissions budget basis. The Climate Change Commission (CCC) recommended that to be consistent with 1.5 degrees, New Zealand’s new target needed to be ‘much more than 36 per cent’ measured on an emissions budget basis, yet it is only 41 per cent,” Le Mesurier said. 

Rather than showing the ambition we need, what the government have done today is change the way they measure their emissions from an emissions budget basis to a point year basis. This means they can make it look like they have increased the target by more than they have.  

Last year, an Oxfam report found that to meet its fair share, New Zealand’s updated target needed to be between 80–133 per cent emissions reductions below 1990 levels by 2030. Le Mesurier says that the government has had all the science, advice and the tools to get this right, but this time has failed Aotearoa, failed our Pacific whanau and failed as a global citizen: 

“We’ve shown that we can play our part in global efforts with a recent four-fold increase in climate finance for countries most vulnerable to climate change. But now we need to get our own house in order. Each Minister in Cabinet needs to take responsibility for that fact that our current plans for domestic action are completely inadequate. New Zealand is not taking the action necessary for the country to do its bit to protect our planet and our people from significant harm.” 

Earlier this year the harrowing sixth IPCC report revealed human influence has warmed the planet almost beyond repair, issuing what the UN Secretary General called a “red alert” for humanity that world leaders must urgently act on. 

“The New Zealand government has shown us today that they are not committed to limiting the worst effects of climate change for people on the frontlines, nor to keeping a 1.5 degrees future in reach. For that to change, some bold action needs to happen to tackle our industries with the biggest footprint domestically, including the agriculture sector.” 




  • New Zealand’s NDC target of 50 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 on a point year basis equates to 41 per cent on an emissions budget basis. This is a mere 5 per cent beyond the Climate Commission’s absolute bottom line.  
  • The Government’s creative accounting is compounded by the fact that New Zealand continues to measure its net reductions against an inflated baseline by using gross emissions in 2005. On a net-net basis, this target is more like 27-28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. 
  • Oxfam Aotearoa is calling the new NDC target a “scandal” as the vast majority of it is being met by offshore carbon credits – no country in the world is planning to rely on these to the extent that New Zealand is to meet their NDC. 
  • Ardern claims that this new NDC target is New Zealand’s fair share; however, it is not consistent with keeping global heating to 1.5 degrees under the Paris Agreement, let alone our fair share of effort 

Breaking Through Red Lines Report

Oxfam Aotearoa along with Oxfam Australia, and Oxfam in the Pacific have released a new report titled Breaking through red lines. Oxfam says that the report draws attention to gaps in the latest funds announced for overseas climate action by the New Zealand government. The funds will go towards supporting efforts to reducing emissions in the Pacific.

Oxfam in the Pacific’s Climate Justice Lead Ilisapeci Masivesi says that while funds to support community adaptation and mitigation are crucial, the report shows that climate change is causing unavoidable loss and damage, which needs distinct funds to help communities recover and restore what has been lost:

“New Zealand’s recent increase in support for adaptation in the Pacific is very welcome. However, while it is a huge help, it does not address the full picture of what we are experiencing in the islands.

“At COP26, it is crucial that governments around the world listen to the voices of those on the frontlines of climate change. Communities in the Pacific have been calling for loss and damage finance for 30 years.

“My country of Fiji is among the most disaster-prone in the world. To survive we are developing solutions that help farmers to restore their crops after a cyclone or villagers to shift their entire homes because of sea level rise. Communities are mostly paying for this themselves even though they did nothing to create the problems. Rich countries that are most responsible for causing climate change, including New Zealand and Australia, need to help more and support Pacific leadership that is calling for finance solutions to compensate these unavoidable impacts globally.”

The report, which outlines the loss and damage faced across the Pacific, includes the effects cyclones and flooding are having on Fiji. Despite efforts to adapt, climate-charged cyclones and flooding causes asset losses equivalent to five percent of GDP in Fiji each year. Cyclone Winston in 2016 caused damage equivalent to 20 percent of GDP. Oxfam says that these events are becoming more frequent and more intense pushing over 25,000 people into poverty every year in Fiji.

The report also shows that loss and damage is being experienced by Māori communities within Aotearoa, and that this needs a distinct response from the New Zealand government to uphold Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Alex Johnston, Oxfam Aotearoa Campaign Lead said that New Zealand’s policy position ahead of COP26 on loss and damage focuses on avoiding and mitigating loss and damage through adaptation finance but not addressing the unavoidable loss that is already occurring:

“New Zealand’s position does not align with Pacific Island countries’ policy position. At COP26, making progress to mobilise sufficient funds to address loss and damage requires political will, as well as new and innovative sources of finance.”

“New Zealand and Australia have contributed funds to help set up insurance schemes to support Pacific Island communities recover from cyclones and extreme weather, but to be maintained these rely on payments from affected communities and on the private market to make a profit. Very little has been done to help communities cover the costs of slow-onset events like sea level rise, and what has been done is treated as adaptation – not loss and damage finance.

Johnston said, “Oxfam Aotearoa is calling for the New Zealand government to align with Pacific Island Countries’ positions on loss and damage at COP26, scale up financial support to existing loss and damage finance solutions in the Pacific, and develop distinct responses in the Climate Adaptation Act to the loss and damage that Māori experience on these shores.”

See the full report here.

Roadmap confirms rich nations will meet $100 billion climate finance target later than promised: Oxfam reaction

Rich nations yesterday published a Climate Finance Delivery Plan claiming that it will take until 2023 to meet their commitment to mobilise US$100 billion each year to support poorer nations to confront the climate crisis. In response, Jan Kowalzig, Senior Climate Policy Adviser at Oxfam said:

“This plan claims that rich nations will meet their target three years late, but conveniently fails to mention the money that poorer countries are owed for every year they fell short. This shortfall, which started to accumulate in 2020, will likely amount to several tens of billions of dollars. These are achievable amounts of money — governments have spent trillions on COVID-19 fiscal recovery packages, which show their ability to act in an emergency. This is an emergency.

“This roadmap also provides no robust commitment to increase the share of finance for adaptation, or to provide more support in the form of grants rather than loans. It is unacceptable that poorer countries that have done little to cause the climate crisis are being forced to take out loans to protect themselves from surging climate disasters like droughts and storms.

“It is difficult to verify the timeline presented in this plan because it does not reveal the underlying data and assumptions. Instead, it relies on the self-reporting of donor countries which allows them to grossly over-estimate the value of the support they provide. Oxfam has previously estimated that the finance targeted specifically at actions to combat climate change may be as little as a quarter of what is reported. 

“With the COP26 climate talks just a week away, time is running out for rich nations to build trust and deliver on their unmet target. This raises the stakes in Glasgow where wealthy governments must agree to more stringent reporting standards, on ensuring climate finance is directed to the right places and on a plan beyond 2025.”


Notes to editors

In 2009, rich countries agreed to increase climate finance to poorer countries to reach US$100 billion a year by 2020. At the Paris climate summit in 2015 (COP21), this goal was extended to last through to 2025, so that rich countries would provide US$600 billion in total over the period 2020-2025. Under the Paris Agreement, they agreed to negotiate a yet-higher amount that would kick in from 2025. 

During a two-day ministerial in July, convened by COP26 President-Designate Alok Sharma to discuss critical negotiating issues and climate actions ahead of COP26, Canada and Germany agreed to take forward a delivery plan for mobilising US$100 billion a year in climate finance.

Just one week ago, the New Zealand government announced an increase to $1.5 billion in climate finance over four years.

Oxfam Aotearoa along with Oxfam Australia and Oxfam in the Pacific