Climate Change Minister James Shaw announces major cash injection ahead of COP26, revealed he never asked to attend virtually

The Government has committed a massive $1.3 billion to helping developing countries tackle climate change - and at least half will go to the Pacific. 

The sweetener comes just as Climate Change Minister James Shaw heads off to a major climate summit in Glasgow.

"Seas surging against the steps leading to your house and crumbling the concrete graves of your ancestors," Shaw said on Monday as he announced the funding package. 

Our Pacific friends and neighbours are suffering, battling to keep rising oceans and crushing waves at bay.

"These countries and these communities have done the very least to cause climate change," Shaw added. 

Shaw is now heading off to a critical climate change summit, COP26, with a bulging wallet: $1.3 billion to developing nations, with half going to the Pacific and half going to international climate funds. 

"This has been overdue," says Rachael Le Mesurier, executive director of Oxfam Aotearoa. "We've been looking for this for a number of years now."

In December, Oxfam embarrassingly ranked New Zealand 21 out of 23 developed countries for our financial contribution to climate change. Oxfam says cash helps but we need to get our own backyard in order too.

"We have quite a lot to do around the action in New Zealand that we need today in order to reduce our pollution and we've got some way to go there," says Le Mesurier.

The need for action is top of the agenda at COP26. But need doesn't always become reality.  

"Do I think our chances of success are high? No I don't, but we absolutely need to put every effort in," Shaw said. 

That means actually turning up. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison wasn't going to bother, until guilted by Prince Charles.

"This is a last chance saloon... literally," Prince Charles said in a BBC interview. 

Morrisson hadn't wanted to do more time in quarantine, and actually, Shaw wasn't keen last month either, saying he'd rather attend virtually.

"I would prefer not to go, to tell you the honest truth," he said at the time. 

But Newshub can reveal he didn't even ask to Zoom in. 

In response to an Official Information Act request, Shaw said organisers "had been clear COP26 is to be an in-person meeting, without exception. Accordingly, there have been no meetings about whether I could attend virtually".

Shaw, plus 10 more - that's how many managed isolation spots have been taken by the delegation. 

But in an era of crises, there's nothing quite as catastrophic as climate change.