Greens back public call for overseas aid

The Green Party says the Government should take note of the public’s overwhelming support for aid to struggling nations and it should raise New Zealand’s miserly current contribution.

A UMR Research survey has found that 76 per cent of New Zealanders support helping poorer countries.

“New Zealanders have an appreciation of our privileged position in the world, relative to many countries,” said Green Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Keith Locke. “Many Kiwis have travelled and seen for themselves the misery and poverty that are all too prevalent in the world.

“Frankly the increase in overseas aid flagged in this year’s budget was pathetic. In the middle of an economic boom, the Government could only raise our overseas aid by a miserly 0.01 per cent of Gross National Income (GNI).

“In contrast, the Security Intelligence Service and Government Communications Security Bureau budgets both went up by 28 per cent.

“New Zealanders have every right to be ashamed that their government earmarks just 0.24 per cent of gross national income to overseas aid, just one third of the international norm,” said Mr Locke.

“The Green Party is calling on the Government to commit to graduated increases in the overseas aid budget that will lift our contribution up to the UN target of 0.7 per cent of GNI.”