Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has instructed foreign affairs officials to raise New Zealand's concerns around the massive fires raging in the Amazon rainforest directly with the Brazilian Government.

"The Amazon [is] the lungs of the world," she told her post-Cabinet press conference today.

According to The New York Times, almost 40,000 fires have been detected there so far this year.

This is a 77 per cent increase when compared to the same period last year.

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Most of the fires were intentionally set by farmers to help clear land.

Brazil's Government has attracted widespread criticism as the fires rage, with many saying its lax environmental regulations have helped increase the number of fires.

The UN secretary-general and many world leaders and celebrities have expressed concern at the situation.

Ardern said she had made a direct request to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to reach out to their counterparts in Brazil and raise New Zealand's concerns around the fires.

"New Zealand takes a really cautious approach when it comes to domestic policies and domestic legislation – but this is not just a domestic policy or domestic legislation.

"This is an example of an environmental issue that impacts on the entire world."

She said if the Brazilian Government made a request of New Zealand, that would be considered – but no such request has been made yet.

"You would hope that there would be resources available in the region to try and deal with what we are seeing in the forest."

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