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Foundation for Peoples of South Pacific shocked

Wellington, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International -March 8, 2009)--The New Zealand Council for International Development says it can’t understand why the government would cut funding to a Pacific organisation working for democracy.

The organisation in question, the Foundation for the Peoples of the South Pacific, works at increasing stability and reducing poverty from a grassroots level in nine Pacific countries.

A spokesperson for New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs Ministry says it declined a request for an additional 1.95 million dollars because the Minister was dissatisfied with the foundation’s performance under its current funding.

But the council’s executive director says staff have visited the foundation’s offices and been impressed with the work it’s doing.

David Culverhouse says the funding cut contradicts the government’s governance manifesto.

"New Zealand’s government seems to be so concerned about issues of poor governance in the Pacific in Fiji and in Solomon Islands and in Tonga and so on, why would we pull money from this area? This seems to be the one area in which it’s in both New Zealand’s interest and the Pacific community’s interest to have governments that are more accountable to their people"

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