13 May 2009

Pacific Churches network joins opposition to NZAID's new focus.

1:45 pm on 13 May 2009

The Council for World Mission's Pacific Churches network says New Zealand's move to change the focus of its aid agency threatens the ability of NZAID to help those who need it most.

Spokeperson Reverend Martin Baker says the CWM is concerned that the Government's new focus on economic development rather than poverty elimination takes New Zealand out of step with most developed nations.

Reverend Baker says that many Pacific people have no means to trade their way out of poverty.

He says that under the poverty reduction programmes NZAID necessarily focussed on long-term goals of education, health and basic services.

"Local people, from what we understand, are very appreciative of the emphasis that a lot of those programmes have placed on balancing those dual concerns. The challenges in some of our Pacific nations are very overwhelming. We have to have a much more balanced view of those concerns with a special priority placed on those in the most desperate of situations."

Reverend Martin Baker of New Zealand's Presbyterian Church