Fiji + 1 more

NZ pledges more money to cyclone hit Fiji

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Hon Marian Hobbs

New Zealand will provide a further $400,000 to assist rehabilitation work in cyclone-hit Fiji, Foreign Minister Phil Goff and Aid Minister Marian Hobbs announced today while visiting Labasa, an area struck by January's Cyclone Ami.

The Ministers are currently in Fiji at the head of a delegation of New Zealand MPs, business people, academics and NGO representatives that also visited Papua New Guinea.

New Zealand's aid agency NZAID has now given over $500,000 to assist Fiji in the wake of Cyclone Ami, having provided an initial $110,000 for emergency relief in January.

"Our main focus now is to help rebuild the effected communities, particularly the schools which need to be stocked with books and basic equipment," the ministers said.

"We are providing Fiji's Ministry of Education with $200,000 to help local schools get back on track. Another $107,000 has been given to Save the Children Fiji to assist with stationery, school uniforms, bus fares and lunch money to children affected by the cyclone. The rest will be allocated to other rehabilitation projects.

"The re-building phase is what NZAID, our newly formed aid agency within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, is all about - helping countries build up their own capacity to be independent. Putting in place good quality basic education is the first and important building block.

"NZAID's main focus is on the Pacific. Doing this kind of work in our own region is part of being a good neighbour. Ensuring good health and education services, training, and work opportunities is important for ensuring stability and preventing alienation and violence.

"Having neighbours which have strong economies, social and political systems means stronger trading partners and countries which will contribute to the security of our region," the Ministers said.