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Ed Sheeran

Tonga trip brings home climate change lesson

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Climate Change Minister James Shaw says being in the Pacific is bringing home to him the effects of global warming - and what Aotearoa can expect in future.

The Greens' leader is accompanying Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Foreign Minister Winston Peters on their short tour of Samoa, Niue, Tonga and the Cook Islands.

While cyclones have always been a feature of island life, they are becoming more frequent and more severe.

He says there was ample evidence of last month's Cyclone Gita to be seen on Tongatapu as the delegation was coming in from the airport, with piles of trees still not cleared away and many houses in ruins.

There were also stories told at an International Women's Day breakfast this morning.

"We heard from one woman whose family had the roof of their house torn off and they had to run from their house to a neighbouring house to take shelter in the middle of the storm, and the kids are still crying themselves to sleep at night because they were so terrified," Mr Shaw says.

He's concerned New Zealand isn't learning lessons from past storms, such as the risks created by deforestation.


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