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New Zealand focussing on fresh water in Tonga

Rt Hon Winston Peters
Minister of Foreign Affairs

14 March 2006
Media Release

New Zealand focussing on fresh water in Tonga

Improving access to fresh water for the people of Tonga would continue to be a priority for New Zealand’s assistance to the island nation, Foreign Minister Winston Peters said.

“When communities have little or uncertain access to fresh water, making improvements in health, education and livelihoods is almost impossible. By funding a clean-water project New Zealand is helping Tonga build the foundations of future developments," said Mr Peters.

“Yesterday I visited one of three NZAID-supported Village Water Supply projects on Tongatapu (the main island).

“This project has involved the construction of a new water supply system, including pipe networks, pumping stations and reservoirs.

“A community awareness programme was an intergral part of this work and has resulted in a high level of community ownership and control over the facilities. This is something that should ensure the project is successful and brings long-term benefits to the village.

It has also involved upskilling and training of rural water inspection staff in the Ministry of Health and members of village water committees, and the provision of training materials and guidelines.

“NZAID will continue to support this project as it contributes to the improved health and well-being of Tongan communities. A similar approach to the provision of clean water supplies is also being developed on the island of 'Eua,” Mr Peters said.

New Zealand has a $10 million annual aid programme with Tonga. Priority areas for support are economic and public sector reform, outer island development, education and health.


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