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NZ dragging its feet on aid

OECD report: Poorest miss out on aid, NZ dragging its feet

Despite the increase in aid levels in response to the Boxing Day 2004 tsunami, the latest OECD report shows that New Zealand still languishes near the bottom of the table in the amount of aid given.

“Official figures just released by the OECD seem to indicate that countries seeking a boost in aid should stop pointing to poverty levels and instead work on getting invaded by the United States!” says the Executive Director of the Council for International Development, Rae Julian.

Aid to some of the world’s poorest regions declined last year. Although total aid increased in 2005, the bulk of the rise went to Afghanistan and Iraq while most of sub-Saharan Africa received less aid. Iraq received $US 21.4 billion compared to Sudan’s $US 1.5 billion.

While the New Zealand increase to 0.27% of Gross National Income may appear a big jump, this was part of a major global response to the tsunami.

“We still haven’t set a timetable for reaching the UN Millennium Development Goal of devoting 0.7 percent of GNI to overseas aid by 2015. The Millennium Development Goals were agreed back in 2000, so next year we’ll hit the half way point having made little effort to honour our international promises.”

While a number of countries including Japan and the United Kingdom significantly increased aid, the OECD is warning that aid levels will fall back as debt relief declines and longer term post-tsunami reconstruction isn’t included in the official figures. This means donor countries will need to step up aid if they are to fulfill their pledges.

Ms Julian says that CID has been calling on the Government to set a timetable to reach the 0.7 percent target by 2015.

“But so far, we’ve been unable to get any commitment from them.”


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