26 Oct 2012

PNG minister urges New Zealand to gear assistance to economic development

7:58 am on 26 October 2012

A Papua New Guinea cabinet minister says if New Zealand geared more of its aid assistance to the country toward economic development it would earn greater recognition.

New Zealand annually is providing 22 million US dollars in aid to PNG, with much of it going into the health and education sectors.

But Trade Minister, Richard Maru, wants expertise and investment from New Zealand businesses.

Mr Maru says given the big spending from Australia, Japan and China, New Zealand's current contribution is not noticed by Papua New Guineans.

He says New Zealand would gain more notice if it put the money into geothermal power development, or the dairy and sheep farming sectors.

"So people would start to say, Oh, now we know what New Zealand is donating to Papua New Guinea. It's been helping us with these sectors which will have a major economic impact on this country. So you generate goodwill that way."

The PNG Trade Minister Richard Maru.

The New Zealand Foreign Minister, Murray McCully, a strong proponent of aid going toward economic development, is expected in PNG for talks next week.