Claire Trevett

Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor.

Typhoon Haiyan: PM calls off visit to the Philippines

A trooper carries an elderly woman to a military plane. Photo / AP
A trooper carries an elderly woman to a military plane. Photo / AP

Prime Minister John Key has called off his planned visit to the Philippines and will instead try to visit at a later date.

Going ahead with his trade delegation now would put too much pressure on the Philippines Government at a critical time of dealing with Typhoon Haiyan, he said.

Mr Key offered to postpone the trip after Typhoon Haiyan devastated some parts of the Philippines and displaced thousands from their homes. He was due to visit Manila with about 30 New Zealand business people after attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) meeting in Sri Lanka this weekend.

"A visit next week would place undue pressure on the Philippines Government at a critical time of the relief and recovery phase. New Zealand knows from recent experience in Christchurch how demanding responding to a large-scale disaster is and we don't wish to distract from these efforts.''

Mr Key has also announced a further $2.3 million contribution to the Philippines Red Cross to help deal with future natural disasters, on top of the $2.15m already announced to assist with the aftermath of Haiyan.

A Royal New Zealand Air Force Hercules will leave for the Philippines in the next few days, carrying disaster relief supplies, and Mr Key said New Zealand would stay in close contact to offer further help where needed.

Mr Key will leave for CHOGM tomorrow night before travelling to Thailand for a trade delegation.

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n1 at 26 Jul 2014 17:41:28 Processing Time: 861ms