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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (July 3, 2002 – Radio Australia)---The New Zealand government has unveiled a new aid agency for the region that will focus primarily on eliminating poverty and providing educational opportunities.

It's called the New Zealand Agency for International Development or NZAID, and replaces the New Zealand Official Development Assistance (NZODA) program.

New Zealand's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Phil Goff says the agency's work will concentrate mainly on the South Pacific region where the New Zealand government has established close links.

He says NZAID will improve the effectiveness of current development assistance programs

He has also assured New Zealanders the money allocated will be well spent.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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