11 Sep 2013

NZ charity worried Australia's new foreign aid cuts may affect Pacific

4:17 am on 11 September 2013

A New Zealand charity says it will lobby the New Zealand government to convince Australia not to cut its foreign aid budget to the Pacific region.

Australia's new government announced as one of its policies it would cut 4.1 billion US dollars from international aid, but has not said where the cuts would be.

The education and advocacy manager of Tear Fund New Zealand, Frank Ritchie, says that policy reneges on a bipartisan promise to increase foreign aid to 0.5 percent of Gross National Income, made by all OECD countries, by 2015.

Frank Ritchie says if the cuts affect the Pacific, it will put more pressure on the likes of countries like New Zealand.

"If there's any inkling that Australia is going to draw that money out of the Pacific then that leaves a gaping hole on those nations, many of them who I imagine would have forecasted their budgets based on what the last government had predicted they were going to spend. So they are going to have to readjust their budgets and it puts pressure on other aid that's being shipped into the Pacific."

Frank Ritchie from the Tear Fund.