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NZ’s aid programmes won’t change following IWC

Rt Hon Winston Peters
Minister of Foreign Affairs

20 June 2006

NZ’s aid programmes won’t change following IWC vote

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says it's outrageous that National's Foreign Affairs spokesperson Murray McCully is advocating to make New Zealand aid in the Pacific dependent on votes at international forums.

"To suggest that it is 'naïve' to not link New Zealand aid to the conduct of Pacific nations in the IWC is foolish to say the least. We have always focused our aid on areas where it is needed most in the Pacific. Binding aid to the compliance of Pacific countries with the policies and procedures of donor countries is the exact thing we are trying to get rid of," said Mr Peters.

“New Zealand is held in very high esteem for the transparency and fairness of our overseas aid programme and we won’t be altering our course in reaction to this issue.

“The Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Nauru, Marshall Islands and Palau are small Pacific countries which rely on overseas aid for development, and any reduction in our aid programmes will punish the ordinary citizens who need this assistance the most.

“The Pacific has tremendous potential for tourism, with many visitors attracted by the opportunity to see endangered whale and dolphin species in their natural environment. The vote taken at the IWC yesterday poses a significant threat to these sort of activities and has far wider implications than the pro-whaling lobby would have us believe.

“There are many occasions for New Zealand to discuss these issues with our Pacific neighbours and I intend to take these opportunities to register our disagreement with the positions taken at the IWC.

“Although disappointed at the outcome of the IWC vote, my advice to our international aid agency, NZAID, is ‘a right argument will sooner or later win'.

"Mr McCully should take this advice on board before he opens his mouth again," said Mr Peters.

ENDS

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