The Green Party is 100% behind this petition.
It is simply not good enough that our Overseas Development Assistance is still down at 0.24% of GNI.
There is no excuse for the Labour government sitting on its hands on this issue for all five and a bit years it has been in power.
Government Ministers have gone along to all these international meetings, and agreed with the requirement to have a timetable to achieve 0.7% of GNI by 2015, and then they’ve come home and betrayed that commitment by doing absolutely nothing to establish such a timetable.
Over the past fortnight Labour has shown that increasing overseas aid is the very last thing on its list of priorities.
The government announced it had an extra $460 million per year to put into Defence spending for ten years. Their was no need for this, particularly when $538 million a year of present defence spending goes on the frigates, which are configured for overseas combat with an American-led task force, not for our defence needs in the South Pacific.
And we all know that George Bush’s military adventures are development problems, not development solutions. Just look at the death, devastation and social dislocation in Iraq.
Overseas aid, to help overcome injustice and inequalities, is the road to peace and development. That’s where we should be putting our extra money, not into the machinery of war. In New Zealand, as in the US, so much more of the budget is spent on the infrastructure of killing instead of the infrastructure of development. Worldwide, almost $US1000 billion is wasted on arms each year.
The $460 million put into overseas aid, if it had instead been spent on defence, would have increased New Zealand’s aid level to 0.66% of GNI, near the international target. And wouldn’t it have been fantastic to get to 0.66% by 2006, not 2015.
Now of course, the Greens support the extra aid given by New Zealand for tsunami relief, and we will be the first to cheer the aid level goes up in next week’s budget.
But if it does don’t just say how wonderful Labour is and you are going to love them for ever. The increase will be a result of your pressure, and this petition, and to some degree the pressure in the House by the Green Party. And, if you are serious about New Zealand increasing its aid to 0.7% I hope you will remember that on election day. The Green Party pledges that if, after the election, we are having negotiations with Labour for a coalition agreement, or a support agreement, having a timetable to reach an aid level of 0.7% of GNI by 2015 will be high on our list of negotiating points.
For further information, see the
Council for International Development