27 Apr 2006

Renewed call for New Zealand to increase aid after Australia doubles spending

8:20 pm on 27 April 2006

The Council for International Development is again calling on New Zealand to increase its foreign aid spending following the announcement that Australia is to double its overseas aid.

The Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer, announced that it will double its aid funding to three billion US dollars, keeping the focus on Papua New Guinea, the South Pacific, Indonesia and Asia.

Mr Downer said it means more cash for health and education, as well as continuing the focus on law and order, and good governance.

Barry Coates for the CID, says this means Australia will be able to do far more than New Zealand to support poor countries particularly in the Pacific region.

"There are real problems of hardship and poverty within the Pacific, particularly the melanesian countries, and these countries have social indicators that are as a low as many sub-saharan african countries and furthermore, they're slipping down the list in terms of levels of development. So we're calling on this to be an opportunity for New Zealand really to recognise the needs in its own neighbourhood."

Mr Coates says on current trends, Australia's aid budget will increase to point three six percent of gross national income by 2010, while New Zealand gives just point two seven percent and has set no timetable to significantly increase aid.