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Increasing NZ's overseas aid

19 May 2005

Hon Marian Hobbs - Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Increasing NZ's overseas aid

New Zealand's spending on overseas aid is expanding by 21 per cent, the largest increase in recent decades.

"Poverty is one of the greatest challenges facing the world and New Zealanders tell us it is important that we do our share to help," says Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Marian Hobbs. "Reflecting this, the aid budget is increasing by $59.4 million in 2005-06."

The increase will take New Zealand's spending on official development assistance to an estimated total of $383 million in 2005-06, representing 0.27 per cent of gross national income (GNI). The government will increase the aid budget in 2006-07 to maintain spending at 0.27 per cent of GNI and again in 2007-08 to increase it 0.28 per cent.

"Last month the OECD reported that New Zealand's refocusing of aid delivery has paid off," Marian Hobbs said. "NZAID, our international aid and development agency, is now acknowledged as leading global good practice in areas like trade and development, and with programmes designed to make a significant impact on reducing poverty. However, the OECD did recommend that the government consider ways to further increase overseas aid.

"Today’s funding increase of $33.87 million for aid to the Pacific will expand significantly programmes with Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Fiji. Pacific programmes targeting governance and leadership, economic growth and livelihoods, and education and health will also get more support. Bilateral programmes with Indonesia and Vietnam will be strengthened significantly, reflecting our increasing partnership with Asia in trade, security and travel.

"This year we have been reminded of the importance of being able to respond quickly and effectively to natural disasters. The budget provides an extra $15 million for disaster and emergency relief over the coming three years.

"New Zealand also has a long history of working closely with key multilateral partners, such as the UN's Population Fund and UNICEF. We will double our funding to these partners with an increase of $28.8 million over three years."

ENDS

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