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Funding For Solomons Elections

New Zealand will join with Australia and other nations to ensure adequate funding is available to enable free and fair elections to be held in the Solomon Islands, says Foreign Minister, Phil Goff.

"New Zealand will contribute up to a further $750,000 to funding the election, in addition to an earlier contribution of $350,000. I have agreed to this contribution in the expectation that the balance of the additional funding will come from other donors. This money will be drawn from the existing Official Development Assistance budget.

"Given the devastation to the Solomon Islands economy, holding elections would not be possible without outside assistance. It is important that a lack of funding is not used as a pretext for deferring democratic elections.

"Elections are required under the Constitution to take place by 28 December this year. The ethnic conflict of the last two years, including the forced resignation of Prime Minister Ulufa'alu, means that it is important that fresh elections are held to elect a government that has a clear and democratic mandate.

"Elections are also seen by civil society groups as a circuit breaker to allow a new government to tackle the problems which have paralysed the Solomon Islands creating an economic, social and political crisis.

"I am advised that the budget for meeting election expenses is soundly based and that financial oversight is in place to ensure that expenditure is transparent and properly audited", Mr Goff said.

Ends




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