Climate, fishing top of the agenda in Micronesia

  • 09/09/2016
John Key (Getty)
John Key (Getty)

Climate change is the number one priority for Prime Minister John Key as he heads to the Pacific to meet with leaders of New Zealand's closest neighbours.

After a busy two days with world leaders in Laos, Mr Key has travelled straight to the Pacific Islands Forum in the Federated States of Micronesia to continue talks on environmental issues and fisheries.

He is expected to arrive in Pohnpei, the nation's largest island, on Friday afternoon and head straight to the formal session where the theme is Small and Far: Challenges to Growth.

"I want an update on climate change, an assurance that New Zealand is going to be one of the countries that will be early ratifying the treaty, I want to know a bit more about our program for rolling out support for climate change, that's definitely going to be top of the list," Mr Key said.

"My sense, outside of climate change, environmental issues, it will be very much economic - not really much in security, I would have thought."

Micronesia is affected by rising sea levels, and like other Pacific countries will be looking to New Zealand to follow China and the US and ratify the Paris Agreement.

Mr Key is also expected to follow up on New Zealand's pledge of $50 million at last year's forum to better manage and help protect the region's fisheries. Mr Key will be hoping to see how they're using that money to stamp out illegal fishing.

He'll  also be meeting with Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill on Friday and with Nauru's President Baron Waqa on Sunday.

The tuna fishery in the Pacific is the largest in the world, and big players like China have interests in the region.

Among the scheduled formal meetings, Mr Key will also hold a private dinner with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

They are expected to continue bilateral relationship discussions after their earlier sit-down meeting before the East Asia Summit in Laos.

NZN / Newshub.