30 Mar 2011

Kiribati to receive US$23m aid boost from NZ next year

11:47 am on 30 March 2011

New Zealand has confirmed it's boosting aid to Kiribati significantly.

The aid programme will spend about $23 million US dollars in the next financial year on projects that include upgrading port and airport facilities on Christmas island, as well as improving basic amenities on the main island of Tarawa.

The Foreign Minister, Murray McCully, visited Tarawa last year, and says it's the most significant humanitarian challenge within the Pacific.

"50,000 people crowded on a string of atolls on Tarawa, living in conditions that I don't think most New Zealanders would believe; so on Tarawa we're doing a range of things to tidy the place up to try and get people living in conditions that are remotely civilised whereas at the moment they're living in circumstances that I don't think anyone in this region should feel proud of."

The New Zealand Foreign Minister, Murray McCully.