7 Apr 2006

New Zealand aid agency says its aid to Vanuatu has positive impact

12:47 pm on 7 April 2006

The Pacific director of the New Zealand aid agency, NZAID, rejects a suggestion that its aid money going into Vanuatu is wasted.

Craig Hawke was responding to claims from the Australian think tank, the Centre for Independent Studies, which says aid to Vanuatu goes into supporting a bloated government and bureaucracy.

It was raising concerns that the huge new aid package from Millennium Challenge Corporation would also be squandered, after donors had poured one and a half billion US dollars into the country since independence to little benefit for the people.

New Zealand's aid focus is on poverty reduction and Craig Hawke says NZAID closely monitors its Vanuatu programme to ensure it achieves its aims.

"Our sense is there are challenges -we know that, but that is why we are working in Vanuatu. And sometimes we don't all get it right, but I don't think we would want to dismiss the role of aid because there are some things that don't work. We think the majority of the assistance is making a difference."