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Stop Failing The Poor

Stop Failing The Poor

Council for International Development

STOP failing the poor ~
Media advisory regarding increasing aid to the Pacific

‘It is very disappointing that additional help for the Pacific will probably have to wait until next year’, Rae Julian, Executive Director of the Council for International Development (CID), said today, in response to the Prime Minister’s pledge to increase New Zealand’s development aid to the Pacific.

‘The government has no excuse for not increasing aid in next month’s budget,’ Rae Julian said. ‘At a time when there is a massive budget surplus, New Zealand should be substantially increasing its overseas aid. If we fail to do so, we will continue to fall short of our international commitments and our responsibility to do more to fight poverty.’

An article in the April 2004 issue of the New Zealand Medical Journal makes a strong case for increasing New Zealand’s health assistance to Pacific Island countries (PICs) on both ethical and self-interest grounds. ‘Many of the relevant health-related interventions are highly cost-effective and are likely to result in health gains in both PICs and New Zealand’, the article says.

There are equally strong arguments for increasing New Zealand aid to the Pacific in other areas such as basic education, climate change, good governance and income generation.

Such increases must, however, be part of an overall increase to New Zealand’s overseas aid, rather than being moved from another part of the aid budget. New Zealand falls woefully short of the United Nations target that developed countries should spend 0.7% of their Gross National Income on overseas aid. In 2002 New Zealand spent only 0.22%, and was among the least generous aid donors, ranking 19th out of 22 countries.

‘This is simply unacceptable’ said Rae Julian. ‘New Zealand must begin to turn around this pitiful aid performance, starting with an increase in the May budget. We must stop failing the poor of the Pacific and the rest of the developing world.’



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