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United Nations chief starts New Zealand visit to stress climate change

15 May 2019

"With great urgency we call upon Member States to come to NY in September with concrete, realistic plans to enhance their nationally determined contributions by 2020 and in support to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals". "And the paradox is that as things are getting worse on the ground; political will seems to be fading".

Speaking to the media in Auckland alongside New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Guterres warned about the dangers of not addressing climate change.

"We can not allow for a runaway climate change", Guterres said Sunday.

"Climate change is running faster than what we are. the last four years have been the hottest registered".

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The Secretary-General's visit to New Zealand is part of a tour of the Pacific Island States in which the urgent issue of climate change figures strongly: in his remarks to the press, Mr Guterres thanked New Zealand for its leading stance in combatting the "climate emergency", and the country's support for the Pacific Island States, which he described as being on the frontline of the dramatic impacts of climate change.

Jacinda Ardern said she welcomed the timing of Guterres' visit. This week a landmark Zero Carbon bill was introduced to parliament.

"Your leadership, prime minister, is absolutely crucial in this regard".

"I'm very proud to be here and to start my visit to the Pacific in a country that is doing the right thing and should be followed by all other countries in the world".

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Guterres said he usually visits a Muslim country during the holy month of Ramadan but this year made a decision to visit Muslims in New Zealand as a tribute to their courage and resilience after the attack.

Guterres will visit both Auckland and Christchurch, including making a keynote speech at the Auckland University of Technology on Monday, Xinhua news agency reported.

António Guterres expressed solidarity with victims of the Christchurch terror attacks and their families.

"Today's meeting was a platform for robust discussion, to share concerns and ideas, and to reiterate New Zealand's commitment to combating climate change".

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The head of the UN, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, has challenged the Government to slap a tax on pollution by shifting taxes "from salaries to carbon".

United Nations chief starts New Zealand visit to stress climate change