Greens welcome Government’s tsunami package

Green MP Keith Locke has welcomed the Government’s tsunami package.

“New Zealanders have contributed generously to tsunami victims and will be proud of the Government’s contribution. It will do a lot to help those in need,” Mr Locke, Green Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) Spokesperson, said.

Mr Locke said he welcomed the Prime Minister’s comment at her post-cabinet press conference that she would like to move New Zealand’s aid budget towards the 0.7 percent of GNI target reaffirmed at the United Nations Millennium Summit. New Zealand currently spends 0.24 percent of GNI on overseas aid.

Mr Locke urged Miss Clark to take action to make good on her words.

“I challenge the Prime Minister to make a commitment that ODA will reach 0.5% by the time Labour finishes its third term. This would be a fine achievement, bringing New Zealand’s aid budget in line with the levels Norman Kirk achieved when he was Prime Minister.

“While there is a huge and immediate need to help those who have lost everything in the tsunami, people in places like the Sudan are also in dire straits. It would be wonderful if New Zealand, instead of being at the bottom of the OECD aid table, could move nearer to the head of the class.”