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Copeland: How NZers can help Asia

Tuesday, 11 January 2005

Copeland: How NZers can help Asia

United Future spokesman on the charitable and voluntary sector Gordon Copeland today announced a plan for involving all New Zealanders in a long-term scheme for helping the victims of the tsunamis in Asia.

“I applaud the government for designating next Sunday as a national memorial day, but one day is not enough,” he said.

“The effects of this disaster will be felt for decades to come and I would like to see a programme for involving New Zealanders in helping our Asian neighbours over a long time.

“I propose that the four main centres of New Zealand; namely Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin be "twinned" with four of the tsunami-hit areas on a long term basis.

“These four areas could be selected by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with the United Nations.

“The mayors of the four cities would then open mayoral funds to channel relief to the affected areas.

“Those four mayoral funds would also serve as a conduit for donations coming from all of the other local authorities {those from the north of the North Island going through Auckland; from southern North Island through Wellington; top of the South Island through Christchurch and the bottom of the South Island through Dunedin.

“In that way the entire nation would be involved.”

Mr Copeland said fundraising would then be undertaken in each city and local authority for the areas with which they have been twinned.

“Over time, this could evolve into people-to-people relationships covering everyone from schoolchildren to commercial enterprises.

“The goal would be to continue the relationship for some years until the affected areas have returned to normality.”

ENDS

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