27 Mar 2009

NZ Aid should not come with strings attached, says gathering

5:57 pm on 27 March 2009

Opposition is mounting to the New Zealand government's move to change the direction of its aid programme.

A gathering of one hundred and twenty people in Wellington has opposed folding NZ Aid back into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Samoan New Zealander, writer and director Oscar Keightley, says this would lead to competing agendas between aid and politics and affect New Zealand's reputation in the Pacific.

"If we were hit by a terrible tsunami and we wanted, we needed help, we would want that help just to be forthcoming. We wouldn't expect someone rich like America to say 'we'll help you but only if you hire American companies to do the reconstruction.' that won't endear them to us so if we do the same of course that's going to affect our reputation."

Oscar Keightley says most New Zealanders want to be good global citizens and donate aid with no strings attached.