25 May 2012

Oxfam says NZ aid cuts shocking

12:49 pm on 25 May 2012

The head of Oxfam New Zealand says yesterday's budget cuts to overseas aid are shocking and deeply disappointing.

Barry Coates says proposed cuts of US 100 million dollars over the next three years signals a major change in the government's position.

He says Pacific economies are struggling to cope with dropping remittances and the effects of climate change.

He says despite New Zealand's weak economy, it shouldn't turn its back on its Pacific neighbours.

"And a good neighbour means providing support and assistance. And when we in New Zealand have a sort of a need to balance the budget then we shouldn't be taking a big machete to the New Zealand aid budget in order to balance the government deficit."

Barry Coates says it's particularly disappointing the cuts are coming from an extremely low base of less than a third of one per cent of New Zealand's gross income.