Greens urge NZ aid pledge for White Band Day

The Green Party is urging the Government to announce a programme to increase New Zealand’s aid in recognition of the upcoming UN Summit on the Millennium Development Goals.

Today, aid organizations around world will be marking White Band Day 2, asking governments to “Wake-Up to Poverty”. In Wellington, there will be a Make Poverty History concert and speeches outside the Beehive.

“I would like our representatives at the Summit to be able to announce that New Zealand has significantly increased its overseas aid, and is going to work out a timetable to get to the international standard of 0.7% of Gross National Income by 2015,” Green Overseas Development Aid Spokesperson Keith Locke said.

“Our aid level has crept up all too slowly in the six years Labour has been in power, from 0.23% of GNI to only 0.27% now. We can do much better than this. I’m sure the public would support a bold aid move. After all, New Zealanders are a compassionate people who emptied their pockets to assist the victims of the Boxing Day tsunami.

“Five years ago, the UN Millennium Conference pledged to halve poverty by 2015, but we have a long way to go, partly because countries like New Zealand have not met their aid responsibilities. The quality of New Zealand aid is not in question. It is focused on poverty reduction and has been praised by the OECD. We just need more of it,” said Mr Locke.