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Major breakthrough in Government aid promises

20 December 2005

Major breakthrough in Government aid promises

The Council for International Development (CID) says calls from within the Government for an increase in overseas aid is a major breakthrough in the campaign to get New Zealand to commit to its international aid obligations.

The Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee has recommended that the Government “encourage further rises towards the United Nations goal of 0.7 percent of Gross National income (in aid) by 2015.”

This is in response to a 14,000-signature petition by many of the country’s aid agencies calling on the Government to commit to the UN-agreed target of giving 0.7 percent of national income to international development aid by 2015. It is the first time that any part of the Government has promoted this target date.

CID Executive Director Rae Julian has welcomed the Select Committee’s report.

She says this has come at a time when there has been strong international focus on issues of trade, aid and fairness between the developed and developing world.

“Unfortunately, World Trade Organisation talks in Hong Kong this week have achieved little towards making fairer trade rules to rebalance the enormous gulf between rich and poor countries,” says Ms Julian.

“Along with advocating for fairer trade, it’s vitally important that New Zealand pulls its weight when it comes to aid.”

“It is hypocritical of our Government to go to trade talks, pushing for benefits for New Zealand’s position, when we’re one of the few developed countries who have not yet committed to helping developing countries by agreeing to internationally-agreed aid targets,” she says.

“These targets of giving 0.7 percent of national income to aid by 2015 are essential in order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals of halving extreme poverty over the next decade.

New Zealand ranks near the bottom of the OECD in its level of aid contribution compared to its income.

Ms Julian says she hopes that the Government will listen to calls from within its own ranks for further aid increases.

ENDS

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