Oxfam New Zealand welcomes the Government’s ongoing support to Pacific countries as they respond to the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, but say it must not come at the expense of other important development action. Since July 2020 Oxfam New Zealand has been requesting the New Zealand government give more aid to our Pacific neighbours.
Oxfam New Zealand’s Communications and Advocacy Director Jo Spratt says that New Zealand’s Aid Programme has put development projects in the Pacific on hold and redirected the money to fund New Zealand’s coronavirus response:
“New Zealand’s aid supports crucial development work, like building the health systems that countries need to roll-out vaccines and education systems that teach people the critical thinking required to negotiate vaccine misinformation. We risk cutting the long-term development activities that are helping to prevent the spread of pathogens like coronavirus, and build resilient systems to enable countries from Papua New Guinea to Cook Islands to respond when they do happen. It is critical that we see an aid increase in the Budget next week.
“With vaccinations beginning to roll-out, countries will soon open their borders, and the Aid Programme will need new funds to ensure it can support the worthy development projects that are on hold. Next week a new three-year aid budget will be announced in Budget 2021. Our immediate coronavirus response must not come at the cost of the long-term work required in the Pacific.”
Oxfam New Zealand is part of the Big Hearts Connected World Campaign to support the people that the coronavirus pandemic has hit the hardest across the world. The Big Hearts campaign is asking the government for at least NZD $500 million new aid funds over the next three years. The campaign gathered the support of more than 3,000 Kiwis via an online petition and hundreds of hand written notes that was accepted directly by the Minister.
For more information or interview opportunities please contact:
David Bull | Oxfam New Zealand | 0274 179 724