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New Zealand commits $5 million to rebuild schools in Cyclone-torn Ha’apai

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06 June 2014 In visiting the Government Primary School of Nuku’alofa this afternoon, the New Zealand Prime Minister made the announcement that New Zealand will contribute $5 million to rebuild schools in the Ha’apai Groups, following the devastating Tropical Cyclone Ian in January.

“The funding will be used to reconstruct classrooms and staff quarters, and replaces school equipment across the island group by 2016.

“The $7.5 million join project with the Asian Development Bank and the Government of Tonga will have big impact on the lives of nearly 1,300 students affected by the cyclone,” said Prime Minister Key.

“There is over 60,000 Tongans living in New Zealand, a significant part of the population who contributes to building the New Zealand economy and development, and so it is important that we are able to help Tonga in times of need,” added the NZ Prime Minister.

“The people of New Zealand remember the relief assistance and donations from Tonga during the Christchurch Earthquake – and New Zealand is glad to be one of the first responders to Tonga’s Tropical Cyclone Ian,” remarked Prime Minister Key.

“We are very pleased for the assistance offered by the New Zealand Government, as New Zealand continues to be a major partner in the efforts to improve the quality of Education, assuring that excellence is equitably accessible to all our children, irrespective of their economic and social status,” reciprocated Tonga’s Prime Minister.

“The Government of Tonga expresses its sincere gratitude towards the New Zealand Government for helping our most vulnerable groups. New Zealand is already providing substantial support to Education, and this additional fund towards the reconstruction of schools in Ha’apai is gratefully received” added Lord Tu’ivakano.

The inaugural visit of the New Zealand Prime Minister to the Government Primary School has also demonstrated the importance of education to both Governments.