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Minister Announces Working Party for Overseas Aid

Minister announces 'Working Party' to look at overseas aid.

The government will set up a working party to look at New Zealand's overseas aid programme, Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs, Matt Robson announced today in parliament.

Terms of reference and the people involved will be announced shortly, he says.
The announcement comes a day after the OECD released its report on New Zealand's Official Development Assistance programme.

The report praised New Zealand for its "serious and credible" programme for aid and development, and commented that "significant contributions have been made in conflict resolution, public sector reform , trade police capacity building and governance issues.." in our region.

"But the report also pointed at areas where we can make improvements. It said that with a new government committed to a strong aid programme with an increased focus on poverty reduction, the time is ripe for New Zealand to "map out a medium-term agenda for its development assistance".

" I want to see a public debate about what we're trying to achieve with development assistance. That is why I'm announcing that a working party will be established to suggest strategic aims.

"Our contribution to the rebuilding of East Timor is a fine example of good old Kiwi generosity and practical know-how. In doing this we have made a significant contribution to regional security.

"I am also aware that while most New Zealanders are supportive of overseas aid, and take pride in humanitarian gestures, many still know little about our aid programme.

"I want New Zealanders to take pride in our successes overseas because they have contributed. People think that they just buy a rose once a year to support Red Cross. In fact they are contributing far more through taxes to aid overseas development programs," Matt Robson says.

ends

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