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Where has New Zealand’s Pacific aid gone in 2018?

New Zealand has trade partnerships all over the globe, but it is those with our closest neighbours in the Pacific that are perhaps most important. Every year, some 60 per cent of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade's (MFAT) global aid payments go to Pacific nations, helping them with everything from disaster recovery to increasing consumer expenditure.

This year, we have already seen significant levels of increased funding to our neighbours, notably on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's recent Pacific Mission. But exactly how much has been allocated, and what is it going towards?

New Zealand aid to Samoa

Cyclone Gita has ravaged many Pacific nations in recent weeks, with the New Zealand government quickly rising to the occasion. In a March 5 media release, Ardern outlined $3 million of funding that would help Samoa deal with the destruction Gita has caused.

Funding will go towards recovery and cleanup of local businesses and communities, as well as the construction of new buildings that are more resilient to natural disasters. Under a separate announcement, $6.5 million will also go to the Samoa Private Sector Development Programme, aiming to get more women and young people involved in the nation's business operations.

New Zealand aid to Tonga

As Ardern noted in a March 7 release, Cyclone Gita ravaged nearly 2,000 homes across Tonga, with infrastructural damage extremely widespread.

"Many communities are still without power and schools are without essential materials," she noted. "It is a huge burden on so many families in Tonga and we are helping them recover."

To that end, the New Zealand Government will provide $10 million of aid to the Pacific nation. This will be used to:

  • Facilitate continued learning for students at 19 primary and ten secondary schools that suffered damage.

  • Restoring Tonga's electricity network.

  • Providing "materials and assistance" to get communities up and running.

This will be a joint project between both MFAT and the Ministry of Education.

New Zealand assistance to Niue

While the funding for Samoa and Tonga was allocated as a reactive measure to Cyclone Gita, the New Zealand Government is also allocating resources as a proactive measure to mitigate the risk of natural disasters. On March 6, Ardern announced a variety of projects that would help Niue become more resilient in the face of such threats. This includes:

  • $750,000 for road and water infrastructure works to be completed before tourist season.

  • Assessment of Niue's long-term water network capabilities.

  • $5 million (on top of an existing $5 million) to develop solar energy capabilities for renewable energy targets of 80 per cent by 2025.

As Niue grows in popularity, this kind of assistance is essential for dealing with increased strains on critical infrastructure. Additionally, Ardern states that the aid package will save the Niue Government up to $1 million, which can be reallocated to health and education services.

New Zealand assistance to Papua New Guinea

Finally, a March 7 release from Winston Peters outlines aid that New Zealand is providing to Papua New Guinea in the wake of their recent magnitude 7.5 earthquake. An RNZAF C-130 Hercules has been dispatched, delivering medical supplies and essentials for those affected. Staff will continue working with local authorities to provide relief wherever possible.

Building stronger relationships across the Pacific

As Prime Minister Ardern continues her Pacific Mission, one thing becomes clear: New Zealand's relationships with neighbouring Pacific nations are only growing stronger. By facilitating more resilient infrastructure and more active business operators, we help to build better trade partnerships – not just for NZ and the aid recipients, but also for those nations as they stand tall on the global stage.

To find out more about business growth across the Pacific, make sure to get in touch with the team at Tradestaff Global.