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Oxfam welcomes increase in tsunami aid

Oxfam welcomes increase in tsunami aid

Oxfam New Zealand Executive Director, Barry Coates welcomed today’s announcement of an additional $58 million for New Zealand’s response to the tsunami disaster, in addition to the $10 million previously announced. “It is welcome that the government is recognising that this is an important issue to most Kiwis. The public has been generous in their giving to the tsunami appeal, giving repeatedly to provide much needed relief.

“Now the government has come through on its promise to provide additional funding, with contributions to the United Nations, NZAID bilateral aid programme and matching funds for non-government agencies, including Oxfam New Zealand. This is well-targeted aid that builds on New Zealand’s capabilities and experience.

“This is a crucial time in the relief and reconstruction effort, with the outbreak of disease being a major threat in the most badly-hit areas of Aceh, Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu. Today’s government announcement will build the international contributions towards the US$977 called for by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

“Oxfam is calling for this to be a first step towards an increase in the New Zealand aid budget to raise the level of aid from the laggards in the OECD. New Zealand has slipped behind other developed countries and is now languishing at around 0.24% of Gross National Income, compared to the OECD average of 0.41%. More aid is needed and the countries official aid agency, NZAID, has the capability to spend it well. It is time for the government to set a timetable to meet our international commitment to provide 0.7% of Gross National Income in aid.”

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