29 Dec 2004

New Zealand government to contribute up to 3.5 million U.S dollars to tsunami-affected countries

1:49 pm on 29 December 2004

The New Zealand government says it will make up to 3.5 million U.S. dollars in aid and assistance available to tsunami-affected countries in south and south-east Asia.

The Foreign Minister, Phil Goff, says a ten member Disaster Victim Identification team will also shortly leave New Zealand for Phuket to assist Thai authorities to identify bodies.

He says an RNZAF C130 plane is today delivering emergency medical supplies and medical specialists to Indonesia, one of the countries most badly affected.

Mr Goff says the assistance package includes up to 1.4 million in dollar-for-dollar matching of donations made to community groups and aid organisations who are raising funds for those affected by the tsunami.

He says hopefully this will encourage New Zealanders to contribute generously to the appeals now in place.