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Government ‘re-set’ for the Pacific welcomed

Government 're-set' for the Pacific and signals for an aid increase welcomed

2 March 2018

The Government’s commitment to increase the aid budget and improve economic and social performance in the Pacific is welcomed by the Council for International Development, the umbrella organisation of New Zealand’s international Non-Government-Organisations (NGOs).

“Improved conditions mean greater independence for the Pacific, and that’s the ultimate goal of any aid budget,” says Josie Pagani, Director of the Council.
“We are a Pacific country. We share a region, an ocean, and family ties. Dealing with poverty and the effects of climate change are important, whether you live in Northland or Tonga. And yet we only spend about 0.2% of GDP on aid, way below the international average and New Zealand’s goal of 0.7%.”

In a speech this week, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Winston Peters said “For a nation that prides itself on being a responsible international citizen, that is simply not good enough”.

The Council for International Development also welcomed the Minister’s focus on doing more to ‘understand’ the Pacific by listening to communities, NGOs, the private sector, and academics.

The Minister called for "greater coordination of effort by all New Zealand stakeholders with an interest in the Pacific, with Pacific governments and people, and with key partners near and far."

“New Zealand’s NGOs work in partnership with local NGOs and community groups across the Pacific, and roughly seventy per cent of our members are in a partnership with the private sector. We’re very keen to see more collaboration and coordination of our mutual efforts to lift people out of poverty,” said Josie Pagani.

“The more we work together the more effective we can be.”

The Prime Minister’s speech this week at the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs’ conference also highlighted the importance of New Zealand’s development work in the Pacific, and our focus on climate change and poverty reduction in particular.

“This signals a massive boost of energy for our work in the Pacific,” says Josie Pagani.

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