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NZ help for one of poorest Pacific countries

NZ help for one of poorest Pacific countries

New Zealand is giving Papua New Guinea additional assistance of more than $100,000, Aid Minister Marian Hobbs announced today from PNG.

"Papua New Guinea may have abundant natural resources in forestry, fisheries, gas, oil, gold and copper but it still has the lowest living standards in the Pacific and the highest maternal and infant mortality rates," Marian Hobbs said.

"That is why PNG - the largest Pacific Island country - will remain a key focus for New Zealand's aid work. The increase in funding is for a series of medical, education and social services targeting the poorest people in PNG.”

Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff, accompanied by Marian Hobbs, is leading a delegation of New Zealand MPs, business people and non-government organisations on a visit to Papua New Guinea and Fiji.

An extra $72,600 will be provided to Hope Worldwide to support four of their key programmes: 9 Mile Clinic Medical Research Project which looks at malaria, STD testing during pregnancy and at other diseases Mobile and Outreach Library programme targeting schools Urban Agriculture Skills Training to train unemployed in farm skills Hillside Survey Project – to survey hillside farming activities Another $30,000 will be provided to fund a new carving workshop at the Timber and Forestry Training College in Lae. New Zealand already supports 20 scholarships a year for women to train in forestry and helps the college run sawmill training courses in rural communities. "This focus on equipping people with work skills is one of the most important jobs of the newly formed aid agency within Foreign Affairs – NZAID. People must be able to take advantage of new jobs when they come up," Marian Hobbs said. Currently NZAID provides development assistance of $6 million to PNG and $3 million to Bougainville.

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