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Tsunami: New Zealand increases support

4 January 2005

New Zealand increases support for immediate humanitarian relief efforts

Prime Minister Helen Clark said today that the government is lifting New Zealand's contribution to immediate humanitarian relief for tsunami-stricken parts of Asia.

"The immediate task facing the international community right now is addressing the urgent humanitarian crisis.

"The government contribution to this phase of the response is being lifted to $10 million, over and above the substantial support already being provided through agencies such as the New Zealand Defence Force, out of baselines and for which further funding may be required.

"The level of funding for the dollar to dollar matching of public donations is being increased, within the $10 million, to $5 million. Of the remaining $5 million, $3 million will go to the UN co-ordinated response programme, and $2 million to the funding of other New Zealand relief initiatives, including helicopter support.

"New Zealanders have already shown wonderful generosity in their response to the tragedy, with close to $4 million already donated to relief efforts. This justifies the government's matching contribution to encourage further donations.

"Beyond the immediate humanitarian response, there is a need for a huge internationally co-ordinated reconstruction effort, in which New Zealand will play its part.

"The Jakarta summit convened by ASEAN, which Phil Goff and I are attending on Thursday, will make more information available on the needs of the region, and enable us to judge what further response should be forthcoming from New Zealand.

"NZAid is working now on options to increase and reorganise our bilateral aid programmes with affected countries so that New Zealand can play its part in the international reconstruction effort.

"Cabinet will be in a position to consider further funding requirements for the region's reconstruction needs when it meets in mid January. In the interim, senior ministers have power to act to respond to immediate needs.

"Meantime the government's focus is on continuing to support families with missing relatives and New Zealanders returning from the region, and on supporting the major New Zealand relief effort being undertaken by defence, police, and other personnel in the field," Helen Clark said.

The following organisations are accepting donations towards relief efforts: ADRA 0800 4999 111 CARITAS 0900 411 11 or PO Box 12 193, Wellington CHRISTIAN WORLD SERVICE 0800 243 575 or PO Box 22 652, Christchurch OXFAM 0800 400 666 SAVE THE CHILDREN 0800 167 168 TEAR FUND 0800 800 777 UNICEF 0800 243 575 and 2helpkids@unicef.org.nz WORLD VISION 0800 80 2000 RED CROSS 0900 31 100

ENDS

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