$1 billion promised for green energy projects in Pacific islands

New Zealand and other major international donors have promised more than $1 billion for sustainable energy projects in Pacific island nations.

The commitment has come at a Pacific Energy Conference in Auckland today which looked at how the region, hit by rising sea levels, could lead the world in climate change initiatives.

Foreign Minister Murray McCully says investments and funding announced today will support Polynesia to achieve more than 50 per cent renewable energy by 2024, provide access to electricity for an estimated one million people in Melanesia and help other countries in the region to double their renewable energy generation.

Investors include conference co-hosts New Zealand and the European Union, the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank Group, Japan, United Arab Emirates, and Australia.

"For our part, New Zealand has agreed to provide a further $100 million to energy projects in nine Pacific countries, bringing our total contribution to $220 million," Mr McCully said.

The $635 million committed at the 2013 Pacific Energy Summit has translated into over $900 million of investments across 70 projects, Mr McCully says.

"In the same way, I hope to see the $1 billion of commitments announced today increase as opportunities for leverage become apparent, and as the ambition of partners grows."

Since 2013, New Zealand and the EU have partnered to deliver renewable energy projects in Tuvalu, Samoa, the Cook Islands, and Kiribati. 

EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, has welcomed the expansion of this partnership.

''I am particularly pleased to have signed today with New Zealand a Joint Declaration of Cooperation on a Pacific Partnership for Sustainable Energy. It signals our commitment to expand the scope of our close cooperation on renewable energy to benefit, among others, Tonga, Niue and Northern Pacific," Commissioner Mimica said.

"Furthermore this declaration paves the way for the future expansion of the successful EU-New Zealand partnership to fields such as climate change, in accordance with the framework established by the Paris Agreement, and sustainable agriculture, starting with Vanuatu."

Most Pacific countries spend about 10 per cent of their domestic income on importing diesel to generate electricity. Source: 1 NEWS

Poll boost for Labour and Greens pairing but Andrew Little 'shouldn't be celebrating'

The centre left pairing of Labour and the Greens have had a small poll boost in the wake of their decision to announce a formal pre-election agreement.

In the latest One News Colmar Brunton Poll, Labour is up one per cent to 29 per cent, with the Greens up two to 12 per cent.

That takes the centre left Labour/Greens block to 41 per cent.

National however remains in a strong position, although has dipped slightly down two to 48 per cent this Poll.

New Zealand First is steady on nine, as are the Maori Party and Conservatives on one per cent.

Prime Minister John Key said there is enough free information for Foreign Affairs to know which US ships are nuclear.
Prime Minister John Key. Source: 1 NEWS

Tonight's Poll was taken between the 28th of May and 2nd of June meaning it captured both the Budget and the new Memorandum of Understanding announced between Labour and the Greens last week.

The sample size was over 1500 hundred voters, with 750 voters surveyed before the MOU and 750 after.

When the numbers are converted into seats in Parliament it's a pretty complicated picture.

National would have 58 seats but in a Parliament of 122 would fall just short of being able to form a government, even with the support of its existing support partners ACT, United Future and the Maori Party, who all only get one seat.

It would on these numbers most likely need to rely on New Zealand First, which has 11 seats.

Labour meanwhile would have 35 and with the Greens 15 would muster 50.

But even with New Zealand First on board they would be one short of the 62 seats needed to form a government, creating the possibility of a
hung Parliament.

Meanwhile in the preferred Prime Minister stakes John Key is still holding steady at 39 per cent unchanged this month.

The veteran politician called for a commission of inquiry into secretive foreign trusts operating in New Zealand.
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters. Source: 1 NEWS

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is the big mover up two points to 12.

Now five points clear of Labour leader Andrew Little who is stuck on seven per cent for the second poll in a row.

Tonight's One News Poll will be a small morale boost to the centre left and perhaps some early validation of the strategy to announce a formal MOU prior to the election.

However the reality is whilst Labour is still languishing below the 30 per cent mark they shouldn't be celebrating.

Leader Andrew Little is also still struggling to make an impact with voters at just seven per cent in that Preferred Prime Minister race and he's now at risk of being further outshined by Winston Peters, who has pulled five points clear into second place.

National meanwhile despite being hammered over its response to the housing crisis and the Panama Papers will hardly be reaching for the panic button at 48 per cent.

That's higher than it managed at the last election. With the party not having dipped below 47 per cent now for nearly a year.

New Zealand First will also be pretty chuffed with this result. Not just because they are looking like a kingmaker in 2017.

They've now polled at nine per cent or over since October last year.

That's a strong base for a traditionally strong election campaigner like Winston Peters to build one come next year.

National is still looking strong on 48 per cent, while the Labour-Greens are close behind on 41 per cent in the polls. Source: 1 NEWS


Plans for Jamie Oliver's first NZ restaurant on backburner

Plans for Jamie Oliver's first restaurant in New Zealand looks to now be on the backburner.

The restaurant was due to open by the end of last year in the refurbish Public Trust building on Wellington's Lambton Quay but the project has been beset by delays.

The building's landlord Maurice Clark confirmed tonight the restaurant developers have cooled on the deal.

"The Australian franchise holder of the Jamie Oliver Italian brand is looking for a New Zealand restaurant operator to take over their commitment to the Public Trust space," Maurice Clark says.

Plans for a restaurant in Auckland also appear to have been put on hold.

Jamie Oliver Source: Bang Showbiz