The leader of Tokelau has criticised New Zealand and other developed countries for putting economic growth ahead of concern for the environment.
The criticism from the Ulu of Tokelau, Foua Toloa comes after leaders at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Singapore failed to set a target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Instead, APEC leaders called for an "ambitious outcome" from the United Nations climate change conference in Copenhagen in December.
Foua Toloa says the New Zealand Prime Minister John Key is well aware of the threat climate change poses to Tokelau, but had more pressing concerns.
"That the impact on nations such as ours threatens our livelihood and existence as a people, I think the Prime Minister understood our position and stated as much. However, in the mix of things it would seem that other priorities such as establishing a free trade policy to promote new economic growth takes precedent at this time."
The Ulu of Tokelau Foua Toloa