Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Global Financial Crisis Hitting Aid Agency Oxfam

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Global Financial Crisis Hitting Aid Agency Oxfam

International development agency Oxfam is bracing for a shortfall that could exceed $500,000 as a result of the global financial crisis and the fall in the New Zealand dollar. Oxfam recognises that these are difficult times for many New Zealanders, but is calling for generosity to be extended to those less fortunate than ourselves.

"Everyone's feeling the pinch, but it's been a particularly tough year for people in the developing world. People living in poverty need our support now, more than ever," says Oxfam New Zealand Executive Director, Barry Coates.

"The rapid rise in food and oil prices has been compounded by turmoil on world financial markets.

"While it is difficult to gauge the longer term impact of these crises, the outlook is dire for people living in poverty."

The International Labour Organisation recently predicted an extra 100 million people would be pushed into poverty as a result of the global financial crisis, leaving them to live on less than $2 a day. This follows an estimate that a similar number of people have been forced into poverty by the impact of higher food prices.

The New Zealand economy is in recession and is expected to keep shrinking until at least the middle of next year, and this has started to impact on Oxfam's work in the Pacific, East Asia and Africa.

Coates said Oxfam New Zealand is doing everything it can to stop the expected shortfall impacting its programme work, and has cut its operational budget by 8.2 percent. The programme budget has been retained at the planned level at this stage.

The drop in the New Zealand dollar in the past three months is hitting Oxfam particularly hard because the cost to carry out programme work goes up when funds are exchanged into local currencies, or the US dollar.

This is already evident in our Papua New Guinea (PNG) programme where 2000 people in the Highlands are going to miss out this year on having access to fresh water.

Oxfam's PNG water engineer Pauline Komolong said Oxfam's funding in New Zealand dollars will now only buy enough materials needed to bring fresh water to 4000 people in the Highlands this year, instead of 6000 as originally planned.

"Oxfam will still be able to fund the building of one gravity-fed water system and 750 toilets for 4000 people in the Kup and Tari regions in the New Year, but 2000 others will be missing out for a further six months, and I don't know how we're going to tell them that," Komolong says.

People will have to continue to walk 2.5kms to the nearest tap at the health centre and wait their turn with patients for water, or continue using polluted river water for drinking and cooking. The now delayed extension of the water supply system will eventually deliver water within 50 metres of their village via 17 taps, placed in health centres as well as four schools.

Coates adds: "We are determined to do everything we can to continue to increase the support we are able to provide to those in the developing world who are suffering from multiple crises."

Oxfam New Zealand works in the Pacific, East Asia and Africa, partnering with local organisations to support people to access safe water and sanitation, to provide education and healthcare for their children, to build sustainable livelihoods, to live free from persecution and violence and to have a voice on decisions that affect them.

To help support Oxfam's work people can: shop online at www.oxfamunwrapped.org.nz for Christmas gifts that really make a difference; become a regular supporter; or make a general donation at www.oxfam.org.nz


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Not Easy: Gordon Campbell On The Greens’ Ongoing Problems

Hard to treat the Greens’ belated decision to stand a candidate in Ohariu as being anything other than a desperation move, by a party whose own leadership is evidently concerned about its chances of survival...

A few months ago, the Greens felt able to forego that role in Ohariu in order to help a beleaguered Labour Party get its candidate Greg O’Connor across the line, and knock Peter Dunne out of the parliamentary frame. More>>


Closing The Gap: Ardern Rules Out Income Tax Rise

After earlier commitments by Jacinda Ardern to do something about inequality and poverty, this new position on income tax seems an about face. To do something significant about inequality requires increases in income for those at the bottom and decreases for those at the top... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On DHB Deficits And Free Trade

Currently the world is looking on aghast at the Trump administration’s plans to slash Obamacare, mainly in order to finance massive tax changes that will deliver most of their gains to the wealthy. Lives will be lost in the trade-off. Millions of Americans stand to lose access to the healthcare they need... More>>

Greens' Response: Slum-Like Rentals Exposed In Renting Review

“...The grim findings of the review are a wakeup call about the true state of rentals in this country. Too many renters are festering in slum-like conditions under the thumb of landlords who have largely unchecked powers and ignore tenants’ complaints when it suits them.” More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Life And Times Of Peter Dunne

The unkind might talk of sinking ships, others could be more reminded of a loaded revolver left on the desk by his Cabinet colleagues as they closed the door behind them, now that the polls in Ohariu had confirmed he was no longer of much use to National. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Labour’s Campaign Launch

One of the key motifs of Ardern’s speech was her repeated use of the phrase – “Now, what?” Cleverly, that looks like being Labour’s response to National’s ‘steady as it goes’ warning against not putting the economic ‘gains’ at risk. More>>


Lyndon Hood: Social Welfare, Explained

Speaking as someone who has seen better times and nowadays mostly operates by being really annoying and humiliating to deal with, I have some fellow feeling with the current system, so I’ll take this chance to set a few things straight.. More>>





Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election