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Budget 2006: Boost for Foreign Affairs & ODA

Hon Winston Peters
Minister of Foreign Affairs

Budget Boost for Foreign Affairs, Development Assistance

Budget 2006 backs the government’s commitment to strengthening New Zealand's international engagement, and tackling security and development challenges, particularly in the Pacific, Foreign Minister Winston Peters said today.

Official Development Assistance (ODA), administered by NZAID, will be increased by $84 million to $1.4 billion over the next four years.

“Much of this increase will be targeted at development needs in our neighbourhood. Priorities include funding expanded bilateral aid programmes in Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Fiji and Viet Nam.

“We will increase support for Pacific regional programmes targeting governance and leadership, economic growth, education and health. We expect to target extra funding for sustaining viable communities in Niue, Tokelau and the Cook Islands, where New Zealand has special responsibilities. Our ability to respond to humanitarian disasters overseas will also be strengthened,” Mr Peters said.

“The Government needs to have the diplomatic capacity to meet the rapidly-expanding demands and challenges of today’s globalised world. The effective increase in the core budget for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in 2006/07 amounts to 3.8 per cent. MFAT will get additional resources for priority areas such as regional cooperation in East Asia, trade negotiations, and environmental issues.

“There is also new operating funding of $13.9 million over four years and capital funding of $21.6 million to continue the programme of security upgrades at overseas posts that was started following the terrorist attacks on September 11 2001, and to upgrade essential information and communication systems. New embassy chanceries will be built in Ankara, Honiara and Suva to replace existing sub-standard facilities.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade plays a vital role in promoting New Zealand’s interests internationally. The funding increase in this year’s Budget will mean the Ministry is better equipped to do its job of securing advantage for New Zealand," Mr Peters said.

ENDS

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