Oxfam report questions the effectiveness of NZ $200m Pacific climate change aid

The Government has pledged to spend $200m to help other countries deal with climate change, but a new report questions if money going to the Pacific Islands is doing real good.

Political reporter Andrea Vance looks at how a major international charity is questioning the aid. Source: 1 NEWS

Oxfam is questioning if the New Zealand Government is doing enough to help prepare Pacific Islands for future events, in their September 2016 Research Report. 

"In view of the escalating impacts of climate change we think more support is needed," said Rachael Le Mesurier, Oxfam.

The Greens say economic development projects are dressed up as climate change aid.

They point to projects like the $9 million spent on an inter-island shipping program, $534,909 on navigation surveys for cruise boat tourism, $2,081,993 on training for tourism workers and $130,000 on new roads.

"You cannot say that a road in a low-lying territory is somehow a climate change project there is just no conceivable link," said Green Party Co-leader, James Shaw.

The Oxfam report says less also needs to be spent on projects like solar power to lower emissions.

"The irony is in the Pacific they are one of the least responsible for climate change," said Ms Le Mesurier.

Instead she believes the money should go to helping islanders get ready for droughts, rising sea levels and storms.

Both the Greens and Oxfam say too many benefits are flowing back to Kiwi companies.

"The money is circular it says it is going to aid in the island but it comes back to New Zealand in the form of hiring New Zealand business to work on those projects," said Mr Shaw.

"That begins to make it quite murky," said Ms Le Mesurier.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry says the Vanuatu projects ensured infrastructure, like wharves, seafronts, and tourism destinations could all withstand storms and sea surges.

"When choosing projects, we ensure the Pacific nations have said they are areas of priority," wrote the Foreign Affairs Ministry in a statement.

Climate change is an increasing priority as cyclones, floods, and storm surges are unleashed on vulnerable island nations.