Saturday, April 13, 2024

NZ pledges $7.5m to Cook Islands solar upgrade

Foreign Minister, Nanaia Mahuta, has announced $7.5 million in climate finance for the Cook Islands.

Announced during a visit to Manihiki in the Pa Enua, Ms Mahuta said the funding will be used to upgrade solar farms in the Northern Group. The investment is part of the 2022-2025 international climate commitment.

“Climate change is the greatest challenge facing the Pacific. It critically impacts our way of life, our economy and our shared futures,” the Minister said.

“We know that effective action requires partnership with our Pacific whānaunga, meeting their priorities and supporting local and indigenous-led solutions.

“This investment allows us to stand alongside the Cook Islands who continue to combat the increasing shocks of climate change. It will see renewable energy grids upgraded, support for maintenance, and provide financial stability for technology and electricity supplies.

“We are also building on previous New Zealand Government investments focused on partnering with the Cook Islands to reduce emissions and reliance on fossil fuels.”

The Minister said climate cooperation had been a key discussion area with Cook Islands Prime Minster, Mark Brown, on the visit.

“I expressed that Aotearoa New Zealand is a partner that can be relied upon, especially when times are tough,” she said.

“During my visit to Manihiki, I also reaffirmed that Aotearoa New Zealand stands ready to support the upgrade of Manihiki Airport which will provide access to a wider range of aircraft and vital connectivity between islands. This will be supported through $40 million invested earlier in the year in the Cook Islands Infrastructure Trust Fund.

“Aotearoa New Zealand has a proud history of supporting the Cook Islands priorities and sustainable development ambitions. Today’s announcement is about working together to navigate our future challenges and opportunities,” Ms Mahuta said.

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