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Prebble in a pith helmet

15 May 2002

“Take your pith helmut off Mr Prebble and get with the times,” Development Minister Matt Robson says.

“I have a message for Richard Prebble: the days of New Zealand using its $226 million overseas aid budget to purchase political influence are over.”

He was responding to Richard Prebble’s attacks on New Zealand’s overseas aid policy.

Richard Prebble advocates a return to primarily funding tertiary scholarships for the Pacific elite, which he argues, helped us to win the top jobs at the WTO (Mike Moore) and the Commonwealth (Don McKinnon).

“He attacks the new aid agency – NZAID – which will primarily focus on poverty reduction and basic education in our own region of the Pacific, despite the fact that this is exactly what Pacific nations want.”

NZAID will be officially launched on July 1st 2002.

“We now have a healthy balance between programmes which promote basic education in Pacific countries, and tertiary scholarships for Pacific Island people in New Zealand.

“For his information the $4 million extra money in the aid budget, annonced today, will not ‘principally assist Indonesia’.

“It will help us to increase our budget for basic education in East Timor (which is what the East Timorese have requested), and in part for basic education in Indonesia.

“It’ll help us to increase funding for Voluntary Service Abroad, for Voluntary Agency Support Scheme (VASS) and it’ll boost our capacity to get the best staff on the job in the new aid agency – NZAID.


Ends

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