25 May 2012

Oxfam NZ 'shocked' at cuts to overseas aid

3:16 pm on 25 May 2012

The head of Oxfam New Zealand says the Budget cuts to overseas aid are shocking and deeply disappointing.

Barry Coates says proposed cuts of nearly $133 million over the next three years signal a major change in the Government's position.

Mr Coates says Pacific economies are struggling to cope with dropping remittances and the effects of climate change.

He says despite New Zealand's weak economy, it should not turn its back on its Pacific neighbours.

"And a good neighbour means providing support and assistance. And when we in New Zealand have a sort of a need to balance the budget then we shouldn't be taking a big machete to the New Zealand aid budget in order to balance the government deficit."

Barry Coates says it is particularly disappointing the cuts are coming from an extremely low base of less than a third of 1% of New Zealand's gross income.