Covid-19 has meant that New Zealanders have had to sacrifice a great deal. They have missed funerals, weddings, births, and all manner of other special moments, National’s Climate Change spokesperson Stuart Smith says.
“It seems a no-brainer to me that now is not the time for me to be jetting over to the other side of the world for a conference, no matter how important the subject. That is why I have made the decision not to attend the 26th Conferences of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow this year.
“The Climate Change Minister James Shaw asked me if I was interested in attending COP 26 in Glasgow some time ago and I indicated that I was interested subject to the details and the circumstances at the time.
“Given I would be required to spend two weeks in MIQ when I returned, taking up a valuable spot that I know Kiwis overseas are desperate for, I could not justify the trip.
“I note Minister Shaw was vocal about the public health risk he considered Parliament sitting in Level 3 and 4 to be. One would think international travel in a pandemic would present a greater risk.
“The COP has been run by the United Nations for nearly thirty years and brings together people from all nations for a global climate summit. It is a worthwhile event and I look forward to hearing of the discussions second-hand.
“Since G20 was conducted online, it is disappointing that a climate change conference run by the United Nations would not also offer online engagement.
“I feel missing out on this particular event, while disappointing, pales compared to the sacrifices made by so many of my fellow New Zealanders.”