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People, not potatoes

Josie Pagani

Progressive Party candidate

15 October 2008 Media Statement

People, not potatoes

New Zealand should take a leadership role in making international institutions effective, the Progressive Party says.

Progressive candidate and number 3 on the Progressive list, Josie Pagani said a United Nations-sponsored 'Year of the Potato' party in Wellington next week was a good example of international institutions getting priorities wrong.

Speaking at an Oxfam election forum on trade last night, she said we needed effective international institutions.

"Agencies where countries come together need to be strong and effective if they are going to reduce global poverty, end wars, fight AIDS and climate change and promote clean water, literacy and development. Celebrating potatoes is not a good example of effectiveness."

Josie Pagani is a communications consultant working with international agencies on development and global poverty. She says New Zealand can be a leading voice for more effective work by international agencies.

"New Zealand has a good reputation for advocating best practice around the world. We don't tend to use international institutions as a place for junkets and retiring politicians. We should use our respect to keep the pressure on global agencies to do a good job."

The International Year of the Potato has a secretariat. Its missions is to "raise awareness of the importance of the potato - and of agriculture in general - in addressing issues of global concern, including hunger, poverty and threats to the environment." Details are available at _www.potato2008.org

"But after the year is over, not one spud of difference will be made to hunger, to poverty or to the globe's climate.

"The solutions to issues like poverty and food are not easy, but they are known: Good governance, preventing corruption, fair trade, avoiding wars. Not ineffective 'awareness raising' campaigns. An international good governance charter would do much more to end hunger than any Year of the Potato," Josie Pagani said.


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