25 May 2012

NZ opposition critical of aid cut to Pacific in need

1:51 pm on 25 May 2012

New Zealand's opposition Labour Party says New Zealand has been very quick to cut development assistance and is now one of the least generous countries in the developed world.

Yesterday, the government announced cuts of 100 million US dollars over the next three years from the Official Development Assistance funding.

Labour's spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Phil Goff, says while Europe and Australia are maintaining and even increasing their aid commitments, New Zealand is failing in its undertaking to keep up aid to the Pacific.

He says because of the tough times in New Zealand, fewer remittances are being sent to countries like Tonga and Samoa.

"Those countries are finding it particularly hard and now New Zealand is reneging on the assurance that Mr McCully gave that he was going to increase aid. He's done the reverse, it's dropped in real terms, it's dropped in dollar terms and it's dropped quite sharply in terms of our gross national income."

Phil Goff says promised aid support to the Pacific is an insurance policy and investment for New Zealand and the cuts will have a significant impact, accentuating current difficulties.