DEAR EDITOR, according to the most recent news from Radio New Zealand the New Zealand Government has increased its Overseas Development Assistance budget by $US488 million, lifting the total to $US1.5 billion over the current four year funding cycle.
“The ministry’s deputy secretary of Pacific and development, Jonathan Kings, said $US124 million would be dedicated to a strategic development investment fund for the big issues in the region, including climate change resilience and a land reclamation project in Kiribati.
“But as well as that we are re-orienting the aid programme to reflect this government’s priorities and some of the resources will go to address the challenges that this government has identified that they want to see addressed in the Pacific,” Mr Kings said.
“For example, health and education. gender issues and women’s empowerment issues,” Mr King was claimed to have added.
Commenting on the new development assistance, a research academic at the Australian National University reportedly said using aid to foster a stronger and more prosperous neighbourhood benefited the entire region.
It is understood that Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Timor L’Este are considered by New Zealand as most in need of aid funding. Source – Radio New Zealand