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Friday, December 4

PM to go to Copenhagen leaders' event



Prime Minister John Key announced today he will be attending the leaders' meeting at the end of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen later this month.

The leaders' event at the conference is due to be held on 17-18 December.

"I have reassessed our position and taken advice from our negotiating team," says Mr Key. "I have decided that on balance it makes sense for me to be there for the leaders' meeting.

"The circumstances have changed in recent weeks. While it's unlikely a binding agreement will be reached at Copenhagen, political momentum is growing which is why in recent weeks a lot more leaders have indicated they will be attending.

"By my absence I wouldn't want to give the impression that New Zealand isn't committed to playing its part in the fight against climate change.

"The fact is that the Government is committed to doing something about climate change, balancing our environmental responsibilities with our economic opportunities.

"We go to Copenhagen with a settled emissions trading scheme on the books, a credible mid-term emissions target, and talented and knowledgeable representation at the negotiations in the form of ministers Tim Groser and Nick Smith.

"Important decisions may be made in Copenhagen and it is important that I am there alongside other leaders so New Zealand has input at the highest level."

More details about the itinerary will be released in due course.