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Overseas Aid Budget

New Zealand’s current overseas aid level will be maintained in the coming year, Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Matt Robson said today.

"Last year the budget was increased by $14 million, and this year's budget locks in the gains.

"I have recently received an independent review of the aid programme and the Government is likely to make some changes in the focus and direction of our aid effort to ensure maximum impact and effectiveness.

"While we work those changes through in the coming year it makes sense to hold the aid budget steady.

“We will continue to assist with the important task of rebuilding society in East Timor, in Solomon Islands and in Bougainville, and if Fiji returns to legitimate government under the 1997 Constitution it may warrant some additional support.

“The Government is also determined to build stronger links with Latin America, there will be an increase in our aid to that region.

"The Government places importance on strengthening non-governmental organisations and recently concluded a Strategic Policy Framework to guide relationships. Current levels of support will be maintained or increased.

"New Zealand will continue to support key United Nations and Commonwealth agencies in recognition of their important contribution to development," Matt Robson said.

NZODA BUDGET HIGHLIGHTS

¡P An allocation of $2.1m for East Timor to cover on-going support in education and training, customs, corrections and for Volunteer Service Abroad (VSA).

- An increase to $3.4m for the Latin American regional programme, with emphasis on human resource development, capacity building and technical cooperation.

- Maintenance of funding of $8m for Solomon Islands for peace support and post-conflict requirements.

- Support for the “Modern House’ of Tokelau project to assist in the creation of governmental structures that reflect Tokelau’s’ needs in the 21st century.

- Provision of $300,000 for the Disaster management Unit of the South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC) to assist with regional disaster preparedness.

- Continued and in some cases increased support for New Zealand voluntary agencies such as Volunteer Service Abroad (VSA) and the Development Resource Centre (DRC).


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