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NZ 's "Stingy" aid level to be debated tonight

24 August 2006

New Zealand's "Stingy" aid level to be debated tonight

"I can smell the stinginess on your breath" is the title of a special debate in Wellington tonight on whether New Zealand is meeting its international aid obligations.

One of the organisers, Council for International Development executive director, Rae Julian expects tonight's arguments to be particularly lively and controversial following recent attention on this issue.

"The New Zealand Government's poor record on aid goes to the heart of a core foreign policy platform. 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, in the Oxford Union-style, 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 Gareth Richards.

Morning Report presenter, Sean Plunket has stepped in to chair the debate. He's replacing TVNZ journalist and former foreign correspondent, Cameron Bennett, who had to pull out due to work commitments.

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.

ENDS

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