21 Jun 2002

NZ Solomons bilateral talks to determine aid disbursement

5:19 pm on 21 June 2002

The New Zealand government says bilateral talks will determine how Wellington will assist Solomon Islands.

An aid donors' meeting in Honiara this week heard a Solomons government presentation which outlined the Solomon Islands' need for a 10 million US dollar budget injection for what is being described as the government's operational survival.

The head of the policy evaluation unit, Sir George Lepping, says while the public service faces cuts to make savings it will take a while to boost government revenue.

While acknowledging progress in economic management and improvements in law and order, the New Zealand delegation to the talks said more needed to be done.

The New Zealand high commissioner, Heather Riddell, says negotiations will determine how aid will be disbursed.

"We have an allocation of 8 million dollars. The figures put forward by Sir George Lepping was vastly in excess of that figure and exactly how we would disperse the 8 million and as I said, will have to be the subject of a strategy and my expectation is that we would have to look at a series of development-related objectives for the disbursal of that funding."

Heather Riddell, the New Zealand high commissioner in Honiara