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Geldof deserves support but has his facts wrong

Rt Hon Winston Peters
Minister of Foreign Affairs

14 July 2006

Geldof deserves support but has his facts wrong

Bob Geldof's determination to increase international aid is highly commendable, but he has undermined that work by getting his facts wrong on New Zealand, says Foreign Minister Winston Peters.

"Unfortunately when you get your facts wrong, you are bound to come to the wrong conclusion, which is what Bob Geldof has done over our commitment to aid," Mr Peters said.

"This government has significantly increased the amount spent on aid. Last year the budget increased by 21 per cent – the biggest in many decades. Further increases this year will see our aid reach nearly $400 million.

"Our aid budget represents 0.27 per cent of GNI, which is well ahead of the international average, but it is also important to remember that dollar expenditure is only one measure of our contribution to developing countries.

"Every year hundreds of millions of dollars are flowing out of our economy to Pacific countries by way of remittances. We continue to make significant contributions to peacekeeping and stability in many developing countries around the world, and we have an open economy that anyone can trade with, unlike many other countries.

"The quality of aid is important too, and in that regard the work of NZAID is acknowledged internationally as being highly effective. We have accountable and transparent processes so we know where every dollar of aid is going.

"Out aid is also largely untied, which means that unlike many countries we do not give aid on the proviso that it is spent on New Zealand goods and services so that the money just flows back into our own economy.

"It is unfortunate Mr Geldof had not been informed of those points before he came to New Zealand, because then he might have been a lot more positive about the contribution we are making," Mr Peters said.

ENDS



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