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Oxfam Aotearoa reacts to Government’s $1.3b commitment to tackling climate change

Today’s announcement is a fantastic outcome for communities on the frontlines of climate change, Oxfam Aotearoa Executive Director Rachael Le Mesurier said in response to the $1.3 billion the Government has promised in climate finance over the next four years.

An Oxfam report in December last year found that out of 23 high-income countries, New Zealand’s level of climate finance funding ranks just 21st when calculated on a per capita basis based on 2018 figures. 

“This new commitment will go a long way to increasing New Zealand’s ranking. It would put Aotearoa New Zealand just within the range of what Oxfam concluded would be its fair share towards a collective goal to mobilise $100 billion a year for developed countries,” said Le Mesurier.

Oxfam Aotearoa estimated that New Zealand’s fair share of this goal was $301.5 million – $540 million per year, and this announcement would take New Zealand’s commitment to $325 million per year from 2022. However, given that the collective goal was due to be met by 2020, Le Mesurier said that New Zealand’s climate finance should continue to rise in future years within a growing aid budget.

“Pacific people on the frontlines of climate change – the farmers, the communities, and the families – have a greater opportunity to thrive, not just survive. If followed through, this will mean more resources for small scale farmers in Solomon Islands to adapt to sea-level rise; more renewable energy for rural communities in South East Asia; and a greater sign that Aotearoa is ready to support those most impacted by climate breakdown.

“It is a relief to hear that the funds for climate action will not squeeze out other crucial funding for other challenges our region faces, such as healthcare, social safety nets, and humanitarian relief.” 

Oxfam notes that climate finance is only one part of the grand bargain to push for all countries to keep global heating to within the Paris Agreement’s goal of 1.5 degrees.

Le Mesurier continued, “Now the government needs to follow through with an ambitious Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) ahead of COP26. We want to see the Government pledge to reduce Aotearoa New Zealand’s emissions by at least two thirds by 2030. Right now, the draft Emissions Budgets and Emissions Reduction Plan won’t get us there. We need to see the Prime Minister follow through this leadership into the pending decision on our NDC. Matching our support overseas with sufficient action at home to reduce pollution at the source is just as important.”

Last year, as part of the Big Hearts campaign, Oxfam along with thousands of New Zealanders called for an increase to New Zealand’s overseas aid and climate finance budget.

“The collective action has shown that people across Aotearoa have big hearts to help our global family overcome climate breakdown. This commitment is part of who we are,” says Le Mesurier.

Alongside Oxfam, Pacific Climate Warriors Wellington spokesperson Mary Moeono-Kolio said: 

“We welcome the announcement of the government’s climate finance commitment and look forward to New Zealand following through with an ambitious 2030 target in our NDC with the policies needed reflected in the Emissions Reduction Plan.

“New Zealand must recognise that its domestic response will have implications on local Pacific communities as well as our families within the region. Today’s announcement is a good first step but if NZ truly considers itself part of the Pacific family, then we trust that they will do all that they can to protect their family. Pacific communities in New Zealand and across the region will be watching the government’s actions closely and ensuring that NZ contributes it’s fair share to keeping to 1.5 degrees at home.”

Oxfam Aotearoa reaction to Emissions Reduction Plan

The Emissions Reduction Plan is a hodgepodge of responses from Ministers, some of whom appear to not be grappling with the very real urgency of climate breakdown, says Oxfam Aotearoa Campaign Lead Alex Johnston.   


“Taking nine months to come up with a discussion document about making yet another strategy is not acceptable. With COP26 less than a month away, the government clearly isn’t taking the climate crisis with the urgency required to keep a safe climate future within reach. Aotearoa needs to do more to achieve its fair share of keeping to 1.5 degrees. 


“We think of our friends, colleagues and loved ones in the Pacific and beyond who will have to continue to endure rising poverty and hunger, farmers who are losing crops, family homes being destroyed by rising sea levels, and loss of their whenua and culture.   


“We urge the Prime Minister to exert leadership within the Climate Change Response Ministerial Group to get Ministers to come back to the table with policy levers that will reduce emissions further and faster, while leaving no one behind. Every sector has to play its part – this includes our agriculture sector which is responsible for half of our emissions profile, but has no new reductions forecasted before 2025. He Waka Eke Noa is not going to meet the target the Government has set itself. The handbrakes need to be taken off now to allow agriculture to play its part in our collective effort to reduce emissions. 


“We call on the Government to support farmers to adopt regenerative farming practices that restore soil, water and air quality, including funding to help them do this; to bring forward the pricing of agricultural emissions in the ETS; and to phase out the use of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser, which has fuelled the growth in the dairy cow numbers over the past three decades. 


“It is obvious that there is a missing link between the Draft Plan and level of emissions allowed in the proposed emissions budgets. There is also a huge gap between the plan, emissions and what is needed to step up our international commitments by 2030 to keep to 1.5 degrees. Much bolder action is needed to allow our domestic plan to do more of the heavy lifting in meeting our international target, which itself is too low. 


“Taking bold action to reduce climate pollution is still the best opportunity we have to create a just, inclusive and sustainable world where people and planet thrive. The solutions are in our reach, and the public will back Aotearoa playing its part to make that a reality.” 

Oxfam Aotearoa and Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade announce partnership

A historic moment for Oxfam Aotearoa and New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) as both sign a partnership for a new programme called Kōtui that will support our Pacific neighbours.  

The total $12.4 million investment will help those people who have the least power to get the resources and opportunities they need to keep themselves and their families safe, well and cared for through climate breakdown and extreme weather.   

Anna Mosley, International Portfolio Manager at Oxfam Aotearoa said that the joint initiative will change so many lives for the better, and expressed how proud Oxfam is to be working with civil society organisations across the Pacific and Timor-Leste that have a wealth of experience and deep connections to communities: 

“Our partner organisations in the Pacific will bridge the gap between communities and policy makers, making sure that governments are responsive to those hit hardest by climate change,” said Mosley. “Across the Pacific, women are more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change because they are more likely to depend on gardening and selling produce rather than formal employment, and because they have less say in decision making and fewer resources.  

“There is international funding available for climate change adaptation, but it’s not always reaching those women who need it most, or meeting their needs. Kōtui will help women to negotiate better access to the resources they need.” 

MFAT’s Partnerships Manager Salli Davidson said about the partnership and the Kōtui programme:  

“We’re excited to be embarking on a new phase of our partnership with Oxfam Aotearoa.  With MFAT’s $9.7m co-investment, together we will make a difference in the lives of women and girls in Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste and Tuvalu.   

“Within the next five years, we expect they will be more actively involved in local governance so that communities, including the vulnerable and marginalised, are more resilient to climate change. Oxfam Aotearoa’s resources and relationships will help to achieve this.” 

Kōtui will improve women’s access to key adaptation resources – climate finance, land, water, services, information – building sustainable resilience for 238,000 people across Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste and Tuvalu. 

Oxfam’s partners in the Pacific and Timor-Leste also expressed their excitement for the programme and partnership: 

Raijeli Nicole, Regional Director at Oxfam in the Pacific said:  

“Our excitement for the Kōtui programme stems from our own experience in partnering with others in building more inclusive, accountable and transformative governance mechanisms that deliver to marginalised groups, particularly women and girls in all their diversity, the promise of full agency and autonomy.  

“We are incredibly excited to be a partner with Oxfam Aotearoa as well as with local NGOs WARA and SICAN in Solomon Islands, and Touching the Untouchables in PNG to implement this programme.”  

Dr Alice Aruheeta Pollard, co-founder of the West ’Are’Are Rokotanikeni Association (WARA), said: 

“We are looking forward to this new partnership with Oxfam. It is a positive step forward that will enable WARA to expand its important work of reaching out to rural communities to empower women and shift norms and expectations around the role of women. Making decisions together will mean that rural families and communities in Solomon Islands are better able to prepare for and cope with king tide/serious high tide and other climate change impacts.”  

Fausto Belo Ximenes, Country Director of Oxfam in Timor-Leste said: 

“We are honoured to be working with MFAT and Oxfam Aotearoa on this very critical and timely programme initiative – Kōtui – that will undoubtedly bring positive changes to the lives of women, girls and other vulnerable groups in Timor-Leste and the Pacific Region as a whole. We believe Kōtui is critical to building our vision of a truly just, inclusive and sustainable Timor-Leste.” 




  • What is Kōtui? The te reo Māori word kōtui means the binding together, or interlacing, during weaving. The woven mat represents dialogue and joint problem-solving in Pacific countries and in Timor-Leste. It is an appropriate symbol for a programme focused on inclusive and equitable governance. The term “haere kōtui” describes people walking together arm in arm. This programme seeks to walk together with people across the wider Pacific, binding us together to weave a more resilient future. The purpose of the Kōtui  
  • MFAT will fund $9.7 million of the programme, whereas Oxfam will fundraise the remaining $2.7 million through public donations 
  • Read more about Kōtui here. 
  • Oxfam Aotearoa is a part of the wider Oxfam confederation and works specifically within Aotearoa New Zealand and the Pacific. Much of the work Oxfam Aotearoa does includes working towards ending gender inequality, tackling climate change in the fight against poverty and inequality, and more recently, responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Oxfam helps people build better futures for themselves, hold the powerful accountable, save lives in disasters, and create lasting solutions. 

Oxfam Aotearoa reacts to Lawyers for Climate Action (LCANZI) announcement

Lawyers for Climate Action (LCANZI) announced that they will be taking the Climate Change Commission (CCC) and Climate Minister James Shaw to the High Court arguing that the CCC’s report did not recommend climate action consistent with New Zealand’s obligations under the Paris Agreement.

“We support this court action to ensure that New Zealand’s targets and plans to reduce emissions are aligned with the science of what is needed for keeping warming to within 1.5 degrees Celsius. It is critical for those on the frontlines of ever intensifying climate impacts, that New Zealand is playing its part,” said Oxfam Aotearoa Campaign Lead Alex Johnston.

“The Zero Carbon Act and the Paris Agreement set clear expectations of New Zealand contributing to global efforts to 1.5 degrees, and so decisions about what level of action we take must be grounded in the best chance possible keeping to that temperature limit.

“Oxfam has stated before that the current plans are not enough for New Zealand to be contributing its fair share to this effort, and we look forward to seeing the court clarify what the government needs to do.”

Oxfam Aotearoa launches a petition to help farmers curb climate pollution

Oxfam kicks-off the campaign with a petition that supporters will sign to get the New Zealand government to help our largest polluting sector – industrial farming – to evolve to sustainable food production.

Recently, the Climate Change Commission released a report that will be used by the government to plan what New Zealand will do to reduce climate pollution and what target to present at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow this year. Despite some progress being made, the government’s current efforts will not do enough to protect us or communities in the Pacific from runaway climate destruction, or make sure that everyone has good, local food in the future.  

Large scale, intensive agriculture is responsible for 48% of New Zealand’s climate pollution. Oxfam Aotearoa’s Campaign Lead Alex Johnston says that right now, the government gives unsustainable farming practices a free pass to pollute, and props up an intensive model that treats farms like factories:  

“The land is overloaded with cows and chemicals that pollute waterways and cause methane pollution to skyrocket. Farmers across the Pacific are bearing the brunt of this inaction with more frequent superstorms and heightened food insecurity. 

“The only way for Aotearoa New Zealand to play our part in keeping within the crucial temperature limit of 1.5°C is if the government does more to reduce farming pollution and help farmers transition to sustainable food production,” says Johnston. 

Oxfam Aotearoa’s aim is to push the government to set a bold international target to cut New Zealand’s pollution by 2/3rds by 2030; bring agriculture into the Emissions Trading Scheme so everyone pays the full price for their pollution; and use the revenue to help farmers shift to regenerative, sustainable agriculture. Johnston says that bold targets are necessary:  

“By finally requiring intensive farming to pay the full price for its pollution just like everyone else, the government would spur investment in lower-impact ways of growing food, and reward farmers that have been doing this for generations with less fertilisers and fewer cows. 

“Revenue generated from big polluters could then fund the advisory services, certification and manufacturing facilities needed to allow any farmer in Aotearoa to transition to diversified and climate-friendly crops and livestock farming. 

“This is an opportunity to adjust our most polluting industry into one that is sustainable, healthy, and positioned for success in the future. And it’s a chance to ensure that farmers on the frontlines of climate breakdown can survive and thrive too.” 


Notes to editors  

  • The Climate Change Commission advice would plan to reduce New Zealand’s domestic emissions, reducing net carbon dioxide emissions to 55% below 2010 levels by 2030, and net agricultural methane, 8% below 2010 levels by 2030.  The reductions proposed in agricultural methane are not within the IPCC pathways for staying within 1.5 degrees warming. 
  • The government is also reviewing New Zealand’s Paris Agreement target for emissions reductions by 2030, our ‘Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC)’, which the Commission found to currently be inconsistent with global efforts to stay within 1.5C of global heating. New Zealand is one of the countries yet to increase its NDC target ahead of COP26, the global climate talks in Glasgow in November. This target is planned to be met through a combination of domestic emissions reductions and the purchase of offshore carbon credits.
  • The combined climate plans submitted by countries account to a dismal 1% emissions reduction, which is way off track from the targeted 45% reduction needed to limit global warming below 1.5 degrees, and to avoid disastrous impacts on vulnerable communities.  

Oxfam Aotearoa reacts to the Climate Change Commission’s report

Oxfam Aotearoa reacts to the historic Climate Change Commission report released today at parliament that outlines recommendations for Aotearoa, New Zealand’s climate action over the next 15 years.  

Oxfam Aotearoa’s Campaign Lead Alex Johnston says that report marks a step up in the country’s response to climate change, but that the final does not reflect the urgency around the current climate crisis we’re in. Johnston says that although we can’t deny this is a historic moment, we need to do more. 

“The Climate Change Commission’s report draws a line in the sand for the bare minimum of what the government should be doing to reduce New Zealand’s climate pollution. However, if adopted using the timeframes currently proposed, they won’t make much of a difference.  

“Aotearoa needs to do more to achieve its fair share of keeping to 1.5 degrees, so that our friends, colleagues and loved ones in the Pacific and beyond do not have to endure rising poverty, lack of food, moving homes, loss of culture. Greater action is needed in prior to 2030 to ensure a safe climate future for all.” 

The recently released report will be used to inform New Zealand’s upgraded target at COP26, the global climate talks in Glasgow, later this year. 

Johnston says that Aotearoa is getting left further behind as other countries race to step up their commitments under the Paris Agreement:  

“The US has a target of 50% reductions by 2030​, compared to 2005 levels. The UK has a target of 68% reductions by 2030, ​compared to 1990 levels. And now compare this to New Zealand’s target of 30% reduction by 2030​ (compared to 2005 levels), and you can see how we have a problem.” 

New Zealand’s agricultural sector is responsible for around half of the country’s total Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, but only has a 10% reduction target by 2030 under the Zero Carbon Act.  Earlier this year Oxfam Aotearoa urged the Commission to greatly enhance their emissions budgets with agriculture in mind. 

“The government continues to let agricultural emissions off the hook, and this is reflected in the Commission’s report – it’s the area where planned reductions are most clearly not aligned with 1.5-degree pathways, and this is holding back how ambitious we can be in our international 2030 target,” said Johnston. 

“What we need is to invest in supporting farmers to diversify land uses. Cutting climate pollution from agriculture should include specific and direct regulations on the sources of pollution and rewarding those already farming sustainably, pricing agriculture into the Emissions Trading Scheme, and using the revenue to fund the transition to sustainable food productions.  

“The reality is this: unfortunately, in order for Aotearoa to uphold its end of the agreement to keep warming within 1.5 degrees Celsius, our government either need to do much more to reduce methane pollution at home, or we will need to spend billions of dollars of offshore carbon credits. Essentially passing on an unfair burden of reducing emissions to developing nations like our Pacific neighbours to do our work for us. 

“We cannot embed our sky-high methane emissions caused by industrial agribusiness at the expense of small-scale farmers around the world growing food for their communities. These are people that have contributed the least to the problem, and are facing disruption to their food security due to climate change. That is not climate justice.”  

For interview opportunities and more info: 

David Bull, Oxfam Aotearoa 

Notes to editors  

The richest 10% accounted for over half (52%) of the emissions added to the atmosphere between 1990 and 2015. The richest 1% were responsible for 15% of emissions during this time – more than all the citizens of the EU and more than twice that of the poorest half of humanity (7%).  

Download Oxfam’s report, ‘Confronting Carbon Inequality,’ for more information.  

The combined climate plans submitted by countries account to a dismal 1% emissions reduction, which is way off track from the targeted 45% reduction needed to limit global warming below 1.5 degrees, and to avoid disastrous impacts on vulnerable communities.  

The government is also reviewing New Zealand’s Paris Agreement target for emissions reductions by 2030, our ‘Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC)’, which the Commission found to currently be inconsistent with global efforts to stay within 1.5C of global heating. New Zealand is one of the countries yet to increase its NDC target ahead of COP26, the global climate talks in Glasgow in November. 

Oxfam New Zealand’s 2020 report ‘A Fair 2030 Target for Aotearoa’ found that New Zealand’s fair share of effort for keeping to 1.5 degrees would be no less than an 80% reduction from 1990 levels by 2030.