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Luxon confirms NZ will make annual $1m UN payment

Adam Pearse,
Publish Date
Fri, 7 Jun 2024, 11:00am

Luxon confirms NZ will make annual $1m UN payment

Adam Pearse,
Publish Date
Fri, 7 Jun 2024, 11:00am

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon confirmed the Government would make its annual payment of $1 million to the United Nations.

He said New Zealand never suspended its United Nations Relief and Works Agency funding – as other countries did – and he was satisfied due diligence was done after investigations into links with the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel.

Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States suspended funding for the agency after allegations several employees who worked for the agency were involved in Hamas’ attack on Israel on October 7 last year.

Luxon said there was a review undertaken by the UN, as they were serious allegations, and it was important the investigation provided the right reassurances. Luxon said he was comfortable making the payments.

The bigger issues remains, he said, which was the catastrophic impact on citizens in Gaza.

On a protest planned in New Zealand around Government fast-tracking of consent for projects this weekend, Luxon said New Zealand had become an “obstruction” economy and that it was too hard to get things done.

“I’m not making any apologies. The time has come where we now need to get moving,” he said, adding that the fast-track Bill was the way to do that.

On his final day in the Pacific, Luxon said the trip had filled him with hope and was a “great success.”

“I am really excited about the Pacific region,” he said, adding that now was the time to get things done.

Luxon said the realisation was that the centrality of the Pacific Island Forum was really important. “There is no reason why the region can’t do well,” he said.

On a rugby match planned for this afternoon, Luxon said he had “offered his services” but they were “politely declined”.

“I am happy to do a run-on,” he joked.

Meanwhile, Luxon said he is “absolutely” confident his $2 billion target for trade between New Zealand and Fiji is achievable and says Fijian exporters will be doing a “lot of the heavy lifting”.

Luxon, speaking to representatives of Kiwi and Fiji businesses this morning, detailed how his government would help achieve the target by adjusting domestic settings to ease restrictions on business, allowing more investment in each country’s economy and providing “optimal conditions” for trading.

Luxon addressed the joint business conference after Fiji Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka had made a strong pitch to New Zealand businesses, saying his country was the “best bet” for investment return under the “watchful eye” of his government.

It was Luxon’s final day in his first trip to the Pacific as PM. He started in Niue earlier this week before travelling to Fiji.

Luxon’s keynote address at today’s conference at times resembled the countless economy-focused speeches he’d made in New Zealand as he outlined the Government’s aim to repair the economy and “get the books in order”.

His plan to achieve that included building a “world-class education system”, embracing more technology, adding value to exports, building more reliable infrastructure and removing “red tape” for businesses.

Luxon also made it clear Fijian exporters would be doing a “lot of the heavy lifting” in boosting the trade between the two countries as he expressed a strong desire to have Fiji products “on our shelves”.

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon was gifted a Fijian Drua Super Rugby jersey by Fiji PM Sitiveni Rabuka. Photo / PoolPrime Minister Christopher Luxon was gifted a Fijian Drua Super Rugby jersey by Fiji PM Sitiveni Rabuka. Photo / Pool 

Rabuka’s speech was closely aligned with Luxon’s. The Fijian PM also stated his fight “against bureaucracy and red tape” in order to enhance business prosperity. 

He welcomed New Zealand businesses that had recently invested in the Fijian economy, such as Douglas Pharmaceuticals, which Luxon would be visiting later today. 

His final engagements in Fiji included attending a sevens game between the New Zealand Defence Force and Fiji’s military team. 

Luxon and Rabuka had shared regular banter about rugby, given the Fijian Drua Super Rugby team had effectively knocked Luxon’s favoured team the Crusaders out of the playoffs. 

Adam Pearse is a political reporter in the NZ Herald Press Gallery team, based at Parliament. He has worked for NZME since 2018, covering sport and health for the Northern Advocate in Whangārei before moving to the NZ Herald in Auckland, covering Covid-19 and crime. 

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