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Smith deserves frosty reception: Greens

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 25/09/2016

Environment Minister Nick Smith is on his way to chair a meeting of his OECD counterparts and the Greens say he deserves a frosty reception.

Member nations are trying to figure out how to implement the Paris agreement on climate change, and Dr Smith will this week take up the role of chairman at the fourth annual OECD meeting of environment ministers in Paris.

Major issues on the table for the discussions include water, climate change, biodiversity, air pollution, waste and resource use efficiency.

The Greens' environment spokeswoman Eugenie Sage says he'll be in Paris just days after the government announced it was opening up half a million square kilometres of ocean to oil and gas exploration.

She's talking about last weeks announcement of Block Offer 2017 which revealed areas the government proposes offering for prospecting permits.

"You can't do that one day and then hope to be warmly greeted at a global climate change meeting the next," Ms Sage said on Monday.

"I don't expect there'll be much love in the room for New Zealand given the government has shown such flagrant disregard for international efforts to stop climate change."

Dr Smith says countries will be discussing implementation of the Paris agreement, which New Zealand has signed up to but not ratified.

Under the United Nations deal, New Zealand will set a goal of reducing carbon emissions to 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.

"The strength of the OECD is that the 35 member countries are similarly developed and have much to learn from each other in improving environmental management," Dr Smith said.

Implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals will also be a major topic next week.

While in Paris, Dr Smith will also sit down for separate bilateral meetings with the environment ministers of Norway and Chile.

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