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The good 'global citizen'

30 August 2004

The good 'global citizen' – overwhelming support for aid

The number of New Zealanders who support giving international aid to poorer countries is growing, according to a new public opinion poll released today.

Some 76 per cent of New Zealanders support the government providing aid (up from 71 per cent in 1999).

NZAID, the government's aid agency and CID, the Council for International Development, commissioned the poll by UMR Research in February and March 2004 and follows a similar poll in 1999.

Being a good global citizen has emerged as the strongest reason for giving aid.

Nearly 60 per cent agree with a new argument in favour of giving aid that 'the case for New Zealand providing aid is becoming stronger as the world increasingly becomes a global community'.

Aid Minister Marian Hobbs says people want New Zealand to take some responsibility to help people suffering terrible poverty in other countries.

"They see it as our international duty," Marian Hobbs said. "We feel more connected to the world today. People understand that our investment in international development and aid is our long term insurance policy against the sorts of violence seen in recent years, and the spread of diseases like SARs."

New Zealand's aid budget supports such activities as promoting good governance and primary school education, for example in countries like Solomon Islands where less than 40 per cent of children complete primary school. It helps establish small business ventures in many Pacific countries, fight the spread of HIV/AIDS and has supported the reconstruction of schools and providing clean water in countries like East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan.

The poll also shows increased support for aid to the Pacific where people believe our aid can be most effective.

Given a choice of regions, 71 per cent selected the Pacific as the area that should get most government aid (up from 55 per cent in 1999).

Summary of key findings:

76 per cent of New Zealanders support overseas aid to poorer countries The number of people who disapprove of aid has dropped from 18 per cent to 14 per cent in 2004 Nearly 60 per cent agree that giving aid is more important today as the world increasingly becomes a global community 71 per cent selected the Pacific as the area that should get most aid.

The top priority for aid was water and sanitation, followed by health and disaster relief The numbers of people in favour of increasing the aid budget to 0.7 per cent of GNI rose to 61 per cent (up from 58 per cent in 1999). At present our aid budget is 0.24 per cent GNI TV news and newspapers are the main source of information about aid The number of people interested in aid has increased to 66 per cent compared to 63 per cent in 1999.

ENDS


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