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Budget 2020: Boost in aid funding as Pacific deals with Covid-19 fallout

PC: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

NZ Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters yesterday announced an increase to aid funding as the world grapples with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Budget 2020 will deliver $55.6 million in additional funding for Official Development Assistance, bringing New Zealand’s overall ODA spend to almost .33 percent of forecasted Gross National Income in 2021.

“Developing countries around the world, and especially in the Pacific, have had their livelihoods shattered by COVID-19. For example, tourism – so long a mainstay of Pacific economies – is facing extremely challenging times.

“New Zealand is supporting our Pacific neighbours in these difficult times and will continue to help them tackle this virus and rebuild their communities and economies which have been so badly affected by the global pandemic,” said Mr Peters.

“We will stand with the Pacific during their time of need,” said Mr Peters. “We are delivering on the Pacific Reset, and demonstrating that New Zealand will remain a true family member and friend of the Pacific.”

A South Pacific Tourism Organisation Covid-19 impact report released last week in partnership with MFAT showed “severe and substational” impact on tourism in the Pacific region – the Cook Islands particularly vulnerable with tourism accounting for 87% of GDP.

On top of Covid-19, Pacific nations have had to deal with the aftermath of Cyclone Harold, which damaged infrastructure in Tonga, Fiji and Vanuatu. The report also noted the significant impact of the measles epidemic on Samoa, which has faced revenue and associated business and employment challenges for over seven months prior Covid-19.

 

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