Pacific Aid earmarked in N.Z. 2020 budget

The Pacific got a slice of New Zealand budget day pie on Thursday, with the announcement of a boost of NZ$55.6 million (T$92.02 million) to its Official Development Assistance budget.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Vaovasamanaia Winston Peters said the Pacific region’s tourism industry in particular will need support, and New Zealand will be there to deliver it.

“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 Vaovasamanaia.

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

The boost means nearly a third of forecasted Gross National Income in 2021 will be dedicated to aid.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson unpacked his “once in a generation” $50 billion budget for the next four years on Thursday.

The immediate boost to the economy totals $15.9 billion, with the rest earmarked for the future.

It includes a $195 million Pacific communities support package, a $400 million tourism relief package and two major jobs packages: $1.6 billion towards a trades and apprenticeship training package and $1.1bn environmental jobs package predicted to create 11,000 new jobs.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described the budget as focusing on “jobs, jobs and jobs.”

Read a full breakdown on the budget on Radio New Zealand here.

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