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OECD gives thumbs up to New Zealand's overseas aid

The OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) has commended New Zealand’s overseas aid programme as “serious and credible”, Associate Foreign Affairs Minister Matt Robson said today.

The four yearly review said that New Zealand’s aid is producing results and contributing to poverty reduction. According to DAC, “significant contributions have been made in conflict resolution, public sector reform, trade policy capacity building and governance issues in the South Pacific and South East Asia”, and such successes deserved to be better known by the public.

"It's heartening to see the review recognise our longstanding policy of concentrating in particular on the Pacific as our main area of aid focus, although we contribute to other areas, including South East Asia. Our contribution to the rebuilding of East Timor is both an act of solidarity and a contribution to regional security," said Matt Robson.

Matt Robson said New Zealand was also commended for successfully integrating gender issues in its ODA management and programmes and in developing constructive relationships with the NGO community.

However the review noted that while New Zealand has increased its ODA to 0.27% of GNP, its highest level for a decade, its relative effort remained well below the average for OECD countries. The review challenges New Zealand to continue to build on programs in the Pacific region that specifically target poverty reduction.

"I want to look more closely at this review. I think they've raised valid issues, and I want to look at what we can do.

The OECD review was carried out by DAC members and followed inspection of New Zealand aid projects in the Solomon Islands and a visit to Wellington for discussions with New Zealand Ministers, officials, NGOs and private sector consultants.

New Zealand’s official development programme is administered by the Development Cooperation Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and totals $218m in 1999/2000.

ends

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