27 May 2004

Aid community angry that New Zealand fails to lift aid spending substantially

8:38 pm on 27 May 2004

New Zealand's aid community is angry the Government has made only a minimal increase in its overseas aid spending in the Budget announced today.

The Government has previously committed to push its aid spend to 0.7 percent of Gross National Income by 2015, but after a nine million US dollar increase in the Budget, the spend is just 0.24 percent.

The Aid Minister Marion Hobbs says spending in the Pacific is up 13 percent though some of this is re-allocating money from other regions.

She says the point seven target is still a long way off but this year's increase is a step in the right direction.

But Barry Coates of Council for International Development says New Zealand is slipping behind the level of spending of other countries in the OECD.

"The real concern is that this is at a time when New Zealand's finances are in a relatively robust state and we believe that obviously domestic poverty is really important to address but so too are the international poverty challenges and this is the time that we could expect New Zealand to increase the amount given to overseas aid"