3 Sep 2010

New Zealand Labour party accuses McCully of ignoring officials' advice

6:45 pm on 3 September 2010

The New Zealand opposition Labour Party is accusing the foreign minister of running aid by the seat of his pants and ignoring his officials' advice.

Murray McCully, who is in Samoa, has announced a 3.5 million dollar system to help Pacific nations deal with tsunamis.

One aid group, the Foundation for the Peoples of the South Pacific International, which has had its funding to prepare people for tsunamis suspended, says Mr McCully is Stalinist in his approach to cutting aid to non-governmental organisations.

Labour's associate foreign affairs spokesperson, Phil Twyford, says Mr McCully isn't making aid decisions based on any written, rational advice.

But Mr McCully says his officials advised him to set up the new fund for tsunami preparedness.