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Christopher Luxon has confirmed he is highly unlikely to attend Apec. Cop 28 starts at the end of the month.
Christopher Luxon has confirmed he is highly unlikely to attend Apec. Cop 28 starts at the end of the month.

The BulletinNovember 14, 2023

How NZ is being represented on the global stage amid wait for government formation

Christopher Luxon has confirmed he is highly unlikely to attend Apec. Cop 28 starts at the end of the month.
Christopher Luxon has confirmed he is highly unlikely to attend Apec. Cop 28 starts at the end of the month.

The Pacific Islands Forum has been and gone, our influence there somewhat diminished. Apec starts this week and the UN climate conference, Cop 28, is 16 days away, writes Anna Rawhiti-Connell in this excerpt from The Bulletin, The Spinoff’s morning news round-up. To receive The Bulletin in full each weekday, sign up here.

MFAT working round the clock to get New Zealanders out of Gaza

We’re exactly one month on from election day. The world record for the longest time to form a government during coalition talks (over 500 days) is held by Belgium. In An idiots guide to Belgian politics on Politico, Barbara Moens writes, “Even at the federal level, Belgium works pretty well (or at least, not much worse than normal) with or without a government.” It’s an extreme example but a reminder that many aspects of government continue to function during transitional times. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs says it is working round the clock to get the remaining New Zealand citizens and permanent residents out of Gaza after it confirmed yesterday that 11 New Zealanders left Gaza overnight on Sunday and entered Egypt via the Rafah border crossing.

Luxon ‘highly unlikely’ to attend Apec

As the “unofficial deadline” of a government being formed in time for incoming prime minister Christopher Luxon to attend the Apec leaders’ meeting in San Francisco looks set to pass, Luxon said yesterday that it’s “highly unlikely” he’d attend. As most outlets report this morning, tax and treaty issues are the sticking points in coalition negotiations with Act and NZ First. Luxon said he was very comfortable the outgoing government could represent New Zealand well at Apec. “By and large… we have a pretty bilateral approach to foreign affairs,” he said, and it would be up to Chris Hipkins, who represented New Zealand at Apec. Luxon pledged to get a free trade deal with India in his first term during the final leaders’ debate. While India is not a member of Apec and has been stymied in its attempts to join, India’s commerce minister, Piyush Goyal, is attending Apec and will meet “on the margins” with US commerce secretary Gina Raimondo.

Trade minister Damien O’Connor at Apec

As the Herald’s Fran O’Sullivan reported yesterday morning (paywalled), current trade minister, Labour’s Damien O’Connor, left for San Francisco on Sunday night, where he will “work to advance New Zealand’s interests at the two-day meeting of foreign and trade ministers from the 21 nations that comprise Apec.” “National has been briefed by New Zealand’s trade negotiators”, writes O’Sullivan. The leaders’ meeting occurs later in the week. Stephen Jacobi says, “Apec is incredibly important for New Zealand”, while last week, Politik’s Richard Harman tweeted that Apec was just “another international gab fest” unless you had serious bilaterals programmed. For most of us, it probably conjures up the “silly shirt photo”. Harman suggested the Pacific Leaders’ Forum (Pif) was more relevant to New Zealand. As we know, Carmel Sepuloni and Gerry Brownlee (Caramel Brownie) attended. As Newsroom’s Marc Daalder reports, “a diplomatic liability for the incoming National-led government has already reared its head before any ministers have even been sworn in” after Vanuatu’s climate change minister called on National not to reinstate offshore oil and gas exploration in New Zealand. Brownlee was reportedly caught off guard, not expecting questions about the oil and gas policy at Pif.

 Cop 28 and a ‘rude awakening’ loom

All going well, we’ll have a government, and a new climate change minister, by the time Cop 28 starts in 16 days. Held in Dubai, the United Nations climate conference has already attracted criticism. The United Arab Emirates is among the world’s top 10 oil-producing nations. Despite questions about the efficacy of the conference in bringing about the rapid action required to meet the Paris Agreement goal, this year’s is relatively significant. The first global stocktake (GST) of the Paris Agreement will conclude this year. Data gathering started in November 2021, and the political discussions will happen at Cop 28. Nature Journal explains this fairly technical process well, including the continued sticking points. As Fran O’Sullivan writes (paywalled), “Whoever prime minister-in-waiting Christopher Luxon sends up to Dubai… will face a rude awakening. New Zealand political leaders have talked a big game on climate change. But their optimistic words have yet to be matched by sufficient major reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in the pipeline, at a sufficient tempo for this country to meet its Paris Agreement commitments.”

Keep going!