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Government's foreign aid boost mainly for the Pacific a big deal

10 May 2018

Posted in: Pacific Radio News,

By Ruci Farrell and Lisa Williams-Lahari -,

Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio says New Zealand's planned spend of $714 million, in mostly Pacific Reset support, should not be seen by critics as a beneficiary handout.

The government has announced a significant boost to New Zealand overseas aid, primarily towards the Pacific region.

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters announced a significant boost to funding in the Pacific region this week ahead of the Budget 2018 announcement. Photo/ Tagata Pasifika.

From Parliament this week, South Auckland MP Aupito says the news is so big it's worth shouting from the top of Māngere Mountain.

He says Pacific neighbours will welcome the boost in development support as part of returning the benefits which New Zealand has reaped in trade, labour, culture and sporting talent.

But, a Tongan senior research scientist is hoping the government reconsiders its education spend in the Pacific, with more focus on a developmental approach to grow Pacific economies.

 A large portion of New Zealand aid to the Pacific goes to scholarships.

Dr Palatasa Havea says the traditional mode of scholarship allocations has resulted in an over-abundance of Pacific graduates ill-equipped to grow and develop Pacific economies.

"In many Pacific Island countries, the qualifications are way ahead of development," he says. "We're qualified but we don't know how to use that to build and develop our countries."