Otago Daily Times

Ardern ref­er­ences fam­ily in cli­mate mes­sage


WELLINGTON: Prime Min­is­ter Jacinda Ardern has used the ex­am­ple of her ‘‘cli­mate scep­tic’’ grand­mother to push Apec lead­ers to do their parts when it comes to cli­mate change.

She has also urged them to ‘‘not re­peat the mis­takes of his­tory by re­treat­ing into pro­tec­tion­ism’’.

Ms Ardern made the com­ments at the vir­tual Apec sum­mit yes­ter­day, while be­ing ‘‘in­ter­viewed’’ by Mi­crosoft pres­i­dent Brad Smith.

Be­cause of Covid­19, the an­nual event — which is usu­ally hosted in one of the 21 mem­ber coun­tries — was moved en­tirely online.

Lead­ers of the coun­tries still meet each other, as they nor­mally do dur­ing the Apec sum­mits, but they are do­ing so via video call.

The main lead­ers’ meet­ing was last night.

Speaking to Mr Smith, Ms Ardern said she hoped the out­come of the meet­ing would be lead­ers agree­ing on a ‘‘new vi­sion’’ for the Asia Pa­cific.

This would in­clude a con­tin­ued fo­cus on cli­mate change.

To il­lus­trate her point, she ref­er­enced a con­ver­sa­tion be­tween her grand­mother and her father some years ago.

‘‘She was a cli­mate scep­tic — not a be­liever in the sci­ence or the ar­gu­ments around it,’’ Ms Ardern said, of her grand­mother.

‘‘She was ex­press­ing that view to my father and I re­mem­ber him say­ing ‘Well, mother, I may not un­der­stand the sci­ence of it but I know what I saw when I was in the Pa­cific’.’’

Ms Ardern said her father told a story about how the is­land chiefs would show him where they used to play in the wa­ter as chil­dren and where the wa­ter level was now.

‘‘You can’t deny what you see.’’ Ms Ardern was talk­ing about ris­ing ocean lev­els as a re­sult of cli­mate change.

An­other key part of her ad­dress was a call for Apec lead­ers to con­tinue trad­ing with each other.

‘‘Trade has been the en­gine of growth and pros­per­ity in Apec since it was founded 30 years ago,’’ she said.

‘‘As we con­front this gen­er­a­tion’s biggest eco­nomic chal­lenge, we must not re­peat the mis­takes of his­tory by re­treat­ing into pro­tec­tion­ism.’’

She did not men­tion it by name, but this was prob­a­bly a ref­er­ence to the United States and the Trump Ad­min­is­tra­tion’s scep­ti­cism of multi­coun­try trade deals, such as the CPTPP.

If that was not pointed enough, she also said: ‘‘Apec must con­tinue to com­mit to keeping mar­kets open and trade flow­ing.’’

This year’s host, and chair coun­try, of Apec is Malaysia.

It will then be New Zealand’s turn to host. — The New Zealand Her­ald

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