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NZ to chair committee overseeing UN expenditure

Hon Phil Goff Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade

11 June 2004

NZ to chair committee overseeing UN expenditure

New Zealand is to chair the United Nations' Fifth Committee, which oversees expenditure of an annual budget of $NZ11 billion and management of 15,000 staff, Foreign Minister Phil Goff announced today.

Mr Goff said New Zealand’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Don MacKay, had been elected to the position in New York today. He will hold the position for a year.

“New Zealand, as a small country, has a hard-headed national interest in ensuring that the United Nations is able to do its job effectively," Mr Goff said.

"For some time now we have been proponents of strengthening the United Nations through substantive structural administrative and financial reform.

"The Fifth Committee is a key channel for pursuing these objectives, as it is the central decision-making body for budget administration and human resource issues in the UN.

“Our election reflects the high standing New Zealand has within the UN, where we have already played a leading role in institutional reform within the Secretariat.

"It is also a reflection of the very high personal regard with which Don Mackay is held in New York. He is one of New Zealand's most experienced multilateralists, and is eminently qualified to fulfil this important role."

Mr Goff said it was particularly timely for New Zealand to chair the committee as Secretary-General Kofi Annan had recently launched a new initiative to bring about change in the UN, and to the system of collective security.

“Recent events have added to the importance of ensuring greater efficiency throughout the UN system.

"It is currently facing huge challenges, from assisting with nation-building in Iraq and Afghanistan, to peacekeeping in Africa, protecting human rights, promoting disarmament, fighting terrorism, and helping economic development around the world," Mr Goff said.

ENDS

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