If James Shaw was giving consolation gifts to Kiwis desperately trying to get home this Christmas he’d likely give them a lump of coal, having confirmed he plans to take 14 staff with him to the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow, National’s Climate Change spokesperson Stuart Smith says.
“In answers to our written questions, Minister Shaw has confirmed he intends to take an entourage of 14 people with him to Glasgow – nine from Wellington and a further five from offshore.
“At a time when thousands of Kiwis are unable to get into New Zealand thanks to our chaotic and unfair MIQ system, James Shaw feels he needs an even bigger entourage this time around than the one he took to COP25 in 2019.
“It is astonishing that the Minister is going to COP26 in the first place, let alone taking up 10 MIQ spots for himself and his onshore staffers when they return.
“Remember, this is the same Minister who was highly critical of holding an in-person Parliament, saying ‘it literally risks lives’.
“I would ask the Minister, ‘Does it literally risk lives travelling to Glasgow and back with nine officials from Wellington?’
“It’s odd, too, the staff he will be taking. The onshore staffers comprise a climate change ambassador, legal, policy and special advisers, as well as his private secretary.
“Of the five officials from offshore, we have several more policy advisers and even an ‘events and logistics specialist’. It’s unclear why the Minister would need the latter in Glasgow, but perhaps he’ll explain.
“The Minister has failed to read the room on this.
“We have heard countless stories of New Zealanders wanting to come home but who are locked out because they can’t get MIQ spots.
“But that won’t be an issue for Minister Shaw and his entourage – they’ll be home in time Christmas with their families.”
Answers to Parliamentary Written Questions (WPQs) are below:
40684 - Question: Is the Minister planning to take any staff or officials with him to COP26, if so, how many and what are their titles?
Reply: Yes. I plan to take 9 officials from Wellington and 5 from offshore. Their titles are: Climate Change Ambassador, Legal Adviser, Policy Officers and Analysts, Special Adviser, Principal Analyst, and Private Secretary to the Minister for Climate Change. The 5 officials offshore will include Policy and Senior Policy Officers, as well as an Events and Logistics Specialist. However, the size of the delegation is not yet settled and will depend on the outcome of MIQ applications. Opposition spokespeople for climate change have also been invited, which is a long-standing practice started under the previous National Government.
40578 - Question: Did the Minister attend COP25; if so, how many of the Ministers staff or officials attended COP25 with him, what were their titles; and what was the rationale for choosing them to go to COP25?
Reply: Yes, I attended COP25. 13 officials attended. Their titles were Climate Change Ambassador, Senior Legal Adviser, Policy Officer, Senior Policy Officer, Principal Analyst, Policy Analyst, and Private Secretary to the Minister for Climate Change. Each was chosen because of their expertise in the UNFCCC negotiations, or in supporting and advancing New Zealand’s interests at COP.