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Record increase for New Zealand’s Aid Budget

Rt Hon Winston Peters
Minister of Foreign Affairs


14 May 2007
Speech Notes

Record increase for New Zealand’s Aid Budget
Delivered at 1pm,
The Moving Company warehouse
East Tamaki
Auckland

Following the recent earthquake and tsunami in the Solomon Islands, emergency supplies from New Zealand were among the first to arrive in the affected area.

Our supplies meant victims of the disaster had clean water, shelter and medical treatment when they needed it most.

Many of those supplies came from this warehouse, in fact from out of the container behind me here, and were funded through the government’s international aid programme.

Whether it is responding to a natural disaster, providing clean drinking water in the outer islands of Tonga, or trying to get children back to school in the Solomons, New Zealand’s aid and development programme reflects our commitment to being a generous neighbour in the Pacific, and a good international citizen.

Along with climate change and terrorism, the fight against global poverty is one of the defining issues of our time. As former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said: “We will not enjoy development without security, we will not enjoy security without development, and we will not enjoy either without respect for human rights.”

It is for these reasons that I am pleased to announce today the most significant ever increase in dollar terms to New Zealand’s aid spending.

As a result of this year’s Budget, New Zealand's aid and development programmes will increase by 21 per cent, or $70 million, in the next financial year, and by a total of 69 per cent over the next four years.

The increase will take our Official Development Assistance, or ODA, to $429 million in 2007/08, representing 0.30 per cent of GNI. Further funding increases over the following three years commit us to reaching a GNI figure of 0.35 per cent by 2010/11. On current figures, that will see our aid budget reach $601 million.


The increased funding will go where it is most urgently needed: in the Pacific and in Asia. Over half of the new money will be spent in the Pacific, particularly in the Melanesian countries of Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu, where the need is greatest.

Pacific-wide programmes targeting education, health, livelihoods, good governance and economic growth will all grow.

New Zealand’s capacity to respond to humanitarian crises will also be bolstered. In a region as vulnerable to natural disasters as the Pacific, this is an obvious priority.

Funding for this work will increase significantly, and will continue our long history of working closely with key multilateral partners, such as United Nations agencies, during times of humanitarian crises.

Bilateral programmes with Indonesia and Viet Nam will also be strengthened, reflecting the high levels of poverty in those countries.

NZAID, the government’s international aid and development agency, is well placed to effectively and efficiently manage the new funding.

NZAID puts considerable emphasis on streamlining operations to ensure that bureaucratic processes do not eat into the resources required for effective development projects.

By using management systems that are already in place, and coordinating with other donors, NZAID is able to reduce the administration costs placed on countries that receive aid.

This is important, as we want to ensure New Zealand gets the best value for its aid dollar.

Our aid is also fundamentally un-tied, which means NZAID is free to choose its contractors and funding recipients on merit, without the imperative of feeding a domestic aid money go-round.

Because of its small size relative to other donors, NZAID is also able respond to requests for help quickly and with a degree of flexibility. This is especially important in emergency or disaster situations when the timeliness of assistance can be crucial to saving lives.

We might not be able to solve all the world’s problems, but through a well-funded, effectively managed and targeted aid programme, we can make a difference.

Today’s announcement will ensure that New Zealand is better placed than it has ever been to do just that.

ENDS

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