4 Jul 2009

Clark defends NZ commitment to international aid

3:28 pm on 4 July 2009

Helen Clark has defended New Zealand's commitment to international aid while pushing for the G8 Group to increase their commitment to aid in Africa. The G8 is to meet in Italy next week.

New Zealand gives about 0.3% of its Gross Domestic Product in international aid - well below the aid budget of many other countries.

In her new role as the head of the United Nations development programme, Miss Clark said the G8 must go beyond its Gleneagles commitments in 2005, which have mostly not been met.

Miss Clark says a reaffirmation of the Gleneagle's commitments will not be sufficient. Cash is needed, she says, particularly in view of the economic downturn which is now badly affecting developing nations.

Miss Clark has just returned from a trip to Africa. She also defended New Zealand's commitment to international aid during her time as prime minister, saying the overall package must be considered.