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Political debate on NZ’s aid obligations

18 August 2006

Political debate on NZ’s aid obligations

Is New Zealand meeting its overseas aid obligations, or is it at risk of being seen as an international miser? That’s the subject of an Oxford Union-style debate to be held at Victoria University on Thursday, August 24th.

“The New Zealand Government’s poor record on aid goes to the heart of one of its core foreign policy platforms. It is a timely reminder to the government to face up to its United Nations obligations, especially so soon after anti-poverty campaigner Sir Bob Geldof’s scathing criticism of its ‘pathetic and disgraceful’ record,” says Council for International Development executive director Rae Julian.

“New Zealand is now one of only three developed countries to have neither substantially increased aid nor set a timetable to achieve the internationally-agreed target of giving 0.7 percent of Gross National Income in aid by 2015,” she says.

The debate is being organised by the Council for International Development and the United Nations Association of New Zealand under the umbrella of the Pointseven Campaign – a coalition of many of the country’s international aid agencies.

Former Aid Minister Marian Hobbs will lead the motion calling on the government to set a timetable to give 0.7 percent of GNI in aid by 2015. She will be backed by former MP Matt Robson and top student debater Holly Walker.

Opposing them will be National Party aid spokesperson John Hayes, along with political commentator Matthew Hooton and another top student debater Nicki Willis.

TVNZ journalist and former foreign correspondent, Cameron Bennett, will chair the debate.

Media and public are invited to attend. It will be held at Victoria University, Rutherford House, Bunny St, Wellington on the 24th of August at 6pm.


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