15 Dec 2014

NZ aid for Samoa conference under attack

5:08 pm on 15 December 2014

A New Zealand advocacy group says New Zealand funding assistance to last September's Small Islands Developing States conference in Samoa was a shameful waste of taxpayers' money.

The Taxpayers' Union says New Zealand provided 7 million US dollars for the four-day event in Apia, including the cost of hiring a cruise liner for the large delegations.

The Union's executive director, Jordan Williams, says it seems inconceivable the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade would think this a good use of taxpayers' money.

The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon with the Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi at the SIDS conference in Samoa.

The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon with the Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi at the SIDS conference in Samoa. Photo: PNG Prime Ministers Office

He says the money spent is about half of the annual New Zealand aid budget to Samoa.

Mr Williams says if the money had been used for genuine economic development or investment, no one would complain.

But he says taxpayers forked out for a conference which achieved a document that 'reaffirmed', 'acknowledged', 'recognised' and 'recommitted' to what he calls various bureaucratic platitudes.

Mr Williams says New Zealand should be funding measures to develop economies, not chartering liners for conferences.