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International Praise For NZ's Refocused Aid Prog.

15 April 2005 Media Statement

International Praise For NZ's Refocused Aid Programme

New Zealand's efforts to refocus and improve the effectiveness of its overseas aid programme were praised today in the release of the main findings of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development 's (OECD) Peer Review of New Zealand's aid efforts.

"The report is very positive, and reconfirms that through our aid programmes, New Zealand is making a difference," Aid Minister Marian Hobbs said. "The findings wholly endorse the government's decision to establish NZAID, New Zealand's international aid and development agency, in 2002.

"The OECD reports that, thanks to this decision, New Zealand now has a competent and dedicated team of development specialists and up-to-date policies and programmes focussed on making a significant impact on international poverty reduction efforts.

"New Zealanders should be proud that we are making a real impact on the lives of poor people around the world, with a special focus on the Pacific, where New Zealand lives. The OECD report praises New Zealand's efforts in countries in difficult circumstances, such as Solomon Islands.

"I'm pleased that the report also recognises the contribution our programmes make in Asia and also more widely, including through the support we provide for the United Nations and other international development agencies."

The review includes recommendations that the government look at ways to further increase the amount of development assistance New Zealand provides.

"The aid spend has increased under this Labour-led Government and may continue to do so, but it is important to remember dollar expenditure is just one measure of a country's contribution to narrowing the poverty gap," Marian Hobbs said.

"We will always be a small player and we need to rely on the quality of New Zealand's assistance, not necessarily the quantity. Through the work of NZAID, New Zealand is now acknowledged internationally as an innovative and reliable donor."

A copy of the OECD Press Release will be available from: www.oecd.org/dac The full peer review report will be available from OECD DAC in May

ENDS


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