17 Dec 2010

Aid agency Caritas disappointed Pacific projects turned down for funding

11:35 am on 17 December 2010

A leading Catholic aid agency says it's surprised 12 of its 14 applications for economic development projects were turned down by the government's aid programme.

The New Zealand Aid programme has rejected 60 of the 104 applications from aid agencies for money from the Sustainable Development Fund, saying they were poorly done.

But Mike Smith, the chief executive of the Catholic aid agency, Caritas, believes its applications were high quality.

"Caritas has been working in the development area for 30 plus years. We have been working with government in partnership for most of that time as, so, we are not new to this scene, we have professional staff and we work in a professional manner. I was pretty confident that most of our Pacific projects would have been approved, particularly because they largely had a sustainable economic development focus which is what government is wanting. It's a bit of a mysterious."

Mike Smith says many of its proposed projects will have to be drastically downsized or go on hold indefinitely.