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RESEARCHER DECRIES NZ’S COOKS AID SPENT ON FLIGHT SUBSIDIES Air New Zealand allegedly profiting from millions in aid monies

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Feb. 28, 2012) – A professor in development studies says he’s concerned New Zealand aid money is being directed towards the private sector.

The Cook Islands has spent half the three million aid dollars it receives for tourism annually, on an underwrite arrangement with Air New Zealand that began in 2010.

A temporary underwriting arrangement between the Samoan and Tongan Governments and Air New Zealand was cancelled after it was deemed to no longer be economic.

Three-point-eight million aid dollars was spent on that arrangement between 2009 and 2011.

The director of Victoria University’s Development Studies program, John Overton, says aid development could be better spent.

"I’m definitely uneasy about New Zealand Aid money being used to subsidize in effect the commercial operations of a New Zealand company in this case Air New Zealand, which would seem to be counter to any of the stated objectives of the New Zealand Aid program either now or especially in the past."

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