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Let’s Make Poverty History in the Pacific, too

Let’s Make Poverty History in the Pacific, too

As people around the world call on the G8 leaders to help end poverty in Africa, the Council for International Development says that in New Zealand our Government needs to do its share to tackle extreme poverty close to home.

Council for International Development Executive Director, Rae Julian says a recent report on global poverty levels shows that the Pacific is off track for nearly every one of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.

These include goals such as reducing child mortality, halting the spread of HIV/AIDS, and increasing access to safe drinking water. Only sub-Saharan Africa is further behind on these goals than the Pacific.

“For example, in Papua New Guinea 300 women die in pregnancy or childbirth for every 100,000 live births. In New Zealand the comparable figure is 7 deaths”, says Ms Julian.

“It’s time our Government showed some leadership to help Make Poverty History, not just in Africa, but in our own neighbourhood.” Ms Julian says for many years now, the Government has been dragging its heels over meeting its international obligations to combat global poverty.

“Bob Geldof has called on G8 leaders to stop making excuses, we also need to tell the New Zealand Government to stop making excuses.”

In the Budget, the Government announced it would spend 0.27 percent of national income on overseas development aid in 2005-06, rising to 0.28 percent in 2008. “This is a long way short of the 0.7 percent target that developed countries, including New Zealand, will need to contribute by 2015 in order to meet the Millennium Development Goals.”

Back in 2000, New Zealand signed up to the series of targeted goals aimed at significantly reducing global poverty.

“The recent decision by 15 European countries to increase aid levels to 0.51 percent of national income by 2010 and to 0.7 percent by 2015 is a major breakthrough.”

“Now all but six of the world’s most developed countries have set timetables for increasing their overseas aid levels to the 0.7 percent target by 2015. New Zealand is one of the few countries that hasn’t.”

“This leaves us increasingly isolated globally on this issue.”

“Let’s hope the New Zealand Government starts to understand that global poverty is an issue that people care about here in New Zealand as well.”


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