Saturday, July 15, 2006

Are we doing our bit?

According to Sir Bob Geldof New Zealand is not doing enough for the world's poorest countries.

Sir Bob, 54, in New Zealand to speak at a business leadership conference, said the 0.27 per cent of gross national income (GNI) the Government gave to impoverished countries was stingy.

"The New Zealand Government, frankly, must up their game," he said.

"The pathetic 0.27 per cent that this Government gives to the poorest people on the planet... is a disgrace.

"The great shame of New Zealand is that it is the [third] lowest in the world with their generosity and this surely does not represent the spirit of the electorate."

The great shame here is for once I tend to agree with Winston Peters, from the same article: "But Mr Peters Sir Bob had got his facts wrong and the 0.27 per cent proportion was "well ahead" of the international average.

There were other aspects to New Zealand's contributions including the millions of dollars flowing out of the economy in remittances to Pacific countries, the significant contributions it made to peacekeeping, and its open economy that any country could trade with.

The quality of its aid, too, was important, and New Zealand's aid was "largely untied"."

Now I don't doubt for a fact that we could and should do more to help those in the world's poorest countries, not just as a nation but as a species - that is all nations and here we as such a tiny economy and state can only contribute so much in a monetary manner, we can be perhaps more proactive on behalf of those without in the various international forums we frequent.

Being a fiscually responsible nation we do our share in the Pacific, looking out for our neighbours and I believe generally we do a pretty sterling job of this.

Sir Bob is right, we could be doing more...

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