3 Sep 2004

Historic aid agreement signed between Cook Islands, New Zealand and Australia

10:17 am on 3 September 2004

The New Zealand and Australian governments have signed an agreement marking the first official joint New Zealand and Australian aid programme.

In it, New Zealand has promised to give 4 million US dollars and Australia 1 million US dollars in programmed aid every year to the Cook Islands.

NZaid will manage the day to day operations of the combined programme and the three governments will meet regularly to set strategic directions.

The NZaid manager and deputy high commissioner in Rarotonga, Matthew Paterson, says it enables them to work on bigger projects, increases the spread that both of the aid donors can work and streamlining of administration.

"Simplification of admistrative purposes, instead of having two different donors to deal with and two different currencies to Cook Islands, have a single point of contact, they get to work in the same currency and all those programming decisions go through a centralised point so it simplifies the communication and administration. There's one set of reporting requirements instead of two."