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Overseas aid budget rises

20 June 2000
Media Statement

Overseas aid budget rises


New Zealand is to boost its overseas aid by 6.5% during the coming year, Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Matt Robson said today.

This year’s allocation of $226.5m represents 0.27% of GNP and a $14m increase since the 1999 Budget night figure.

"The increase, which includes a new $2 million allocation for East Timor, is a result of pre-election promises from both the Alliance and Labour, that the Overseas Development Assistance budget should be increased," says Matt Robson.

“Our programme remains strongly focused on the South Pacific, where New Zealand has its closest ties and a track record of effective aid delivery. Most of our effort will go into education and training, health and good governance.

“We are also responding to the vulnerability of South Pacific ecosystems through our environment initiatives, and we are encouraging full participation by the private sector and NGOs in development”, he says.

"There are new challenges for the ODA programme, including shaping effective and appropriate responses to ethnic conflict in the Solomon Islands and to the Fiji constitutional crisis.

"Higher allocations for key United Nations and Commonwealth agencies recognise what these agencies do to support development.

"Non-governmental organisations will get a bigger slice of aid expenditure in the new financial year, because of the active and valuable role they play. Volunteer Service Abroad, the Voluntary Agency Support Scheme, the Council for International Development and the Development Resource Centre will all benefit from the increased ODA budget," says Matt Robson.



ENDS

NZODA BUDGET HIGHLIGHTS


 A new allocation of $2m for East Timor.

 Additional funding of $250,000 for good governance projects.

 Higher funding levels for New Zealand voluntary agencies (an extra $200,000 for VSA, $1 million for Voluntary Agencies Support Scheme, and $100,000 for Council for International Development) and for the Development Resource Centre .

 Expanded funding of $725,000 for emergency and disaster relief.

 New resources totalling $250,000 for technical assistance to Latin America.

 An increase of $250,000 for poverty alleviation and rural development projects in China.

 Additional funding totalling $875,000 for the Forum Secretariat, the SPC and SOPAC, recognising the need for strengthened regional organisations.

 An increase of $100,000 in funding for public/private sector partnerships for environment management in the South Pacific.

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