31 Aug 2010

New Zealand to double its aid to Kiribati to help ease population pressure

7:44 pm on 31 August 2010

The New Zealand Foreign Minister has reaffirmed Wellington's commitment to help Kiribati ease its population problems.

Murray McCully met the Kiribati President, Anote Tong, in Tarawa today and says the water and sanitation problems in the capital are the most challenging he has seen.

Walter Zweifel reports from Tarawa.

"Murray McCully says New Zealand's aid to Kiribati is set to double in a bid to address what Mr Tong describes as an urgent problem already existing for quite some time. Mr Tong says it has weakened traditional practices and chiefly powers that also underpin the country's political stability. The problem is compounded by population growth and erosion that's due to climate change causing damage of a magnitude that Kiribati can no longer afford to repair without international help."