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McCully brings axe down on aid NGOs


McCully brings axe down on aid NGOs

Labour's associate spokesperson on foreign affairs Phil Twyford has accused Foreign Minister Murray McCully of taking revenge on NGOs who dared criticise his policies.

The Government has cut $900,000 funding to the overseas aid NGOs' umbrella group causing 10 of the group's 11 staff to be laid off. The Council for International Development has more than 100 members including the country's largest NGOs: World Vision, Save the Children Fund, Child Fund, Oxfam and others.

Twyford said previous governments, both Labour and National, had supported the NGOs over 35 years to help them to become more accountable and effective in delivering aid projects funded by New Zealanders.

"Mr McCully has thrown all that out the window. All because the NGOs had the audacity to criticise his policies last year when he merged the government's aid agency NZAID back into the foreign affairs ministry.

"The Minister says he is committed to NGOs but he slashes their funding. He says he is committed to working with NGOs on disaster relief but he has effectively sacked the person whose job it was to coordinate the NGOs during disasters.

"He says he believes in accountability for aid funds but he has just shut down an operation specifically designed to improve accountability.

"The Minister says he wants to fund aid programmes but not bureaucrats.

"I've got news for the Minister. If he cuts the jobs of people who are coordinating aid and making it more accountable, then he is undermining the ability of New Zealand NGOs to do an effective job.

"This is Murray McCully taking revenge on the NGOs. The Minister is a disgrace."

ENDS

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