Jacinda Ardern discusses latest from Pacific Islands Forum

Addressing media on developments at the Pacific Islands Forum in Suva, the prime minister says making sure the region is investing now in initiatives that improve climate resilience is incredibly important.

Jacinda Ardern is attending the forum alongside Minister of Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta.

The funding announced for Pacific crop seeds this afternoon allowed the preservation of the region's biodiversity, "which is incredibly important to all of us", Ardern said.

She said it was important for the region to move away as much as possible from the reliance on fossil fuels.

"The price impacts that has, they're increasingly becoming unaffordable but also the fact that offers an opportunity for climate mitigation as well. I expect that will be one of many things that comes through the Pacific Islands Forum."

Climate change had been top of the agenda at every PIF she had been to, Ardern said, and represented a huge security issue in itself.

"All of these things come back to essentially the resilience of our region and our general security as a region as well."

If others like Australia chose to follow New Zealand on increasing climate change-related spending, that could only be a good thing for all, she said.

"In some cases quite a bit of background work needs to be done on funding some of the initatives ... one of the things that has been a barrier has been the inability to progress projects on the ground because of Covid. I expect us to be trying to make up for a bit of lost time there, and that goes for aid and development funding across the region."

There was, for the most part, an absence of legal mechanisms to protect the environment, and New Zealand was keen to play a role in ensuring that was in place, Ardern said.