14 May 2007

New Zealand boosts foreign aid by more than 20 percent

3:28 pm on 14 May 2007

The New Zealand government has committed itself to increase foreign aid in a bid to improve its ranking relative to other OECD countries.

In a pre-budget announcement, the foreign minister, Winston Peters, says in the next financial year, the aid allocation will be increased by more than 20 percent or just over 50 million US dollars.

Mr Peters says this will take over all foreign assistance aid to 315 million US dollars which is 0.3 percent of gross national income.

He says planned increases in the following three years will raise the ratio to .35 percent of GNI which is half the target figure attained by the most generous donor countries.

Mr Peters says over half of the new funding will be spent in the Pacific, particularly in Melanesia.

New Zealand aid agencies have welcomed the boost and the Council for International Development has praised the minister for increasing the aid allocation.