31 Aug 2010

NZ to double aid to Kiribati

9:39 pm on 31 August 2010

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully has reaffirmed New Zealand's commitment to help Kiribati ease its population problems.

Mr McCully met Kiribati President Anote Tong in Tarawa on Tuesday and says water and sanitation problems in the capital are the most challenging he has seen, Radio New Zealand International reports.

Mr McCully says New Zealand's aid to Kiribati is set to double in a bid to address what Mr Tong describes as an urgent problem that has existed for some time.

Mr Tong says it has weakened traditional practices and chiefly powers that also underpin the country's political stability.

The problem is compounded by population growth and erosion due to climate change, causing damage of a magnitude that Kiribati can no longer afford to repair without international help.