A nearly $715m increase to our international aid, money for 50 extra diplomats, and the reopening of an embassy in Sweden were among the highlights from Peters’ pre-Budget announcement on Tuesday night.
Speaking to a crowd of diplomats, he said skilled diplomacy was “an essential part of protecting our vital national interests and securing domestic prosperity”.
“That voice has never been more important to protect our interests in a troubled world and support the family of Pacific nations who share our neighbourhood,” Peters said.
Seeking to pre-empt criticism of the Government’s fiscal priorities, he said its foreign policy was “not divorced from domestic policy but married to it”, highlighting instability in the Asia-Pacific and the flow-on costs for border control and defence without prevention efforts.
Peters also mentioned increased competition for influence in the Pacific, in a thinly-veiled allusion to China’s growing role - raised by former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her visit here.
The lynchpin of the announcement was $714.2m over four years for New Zealand’s official development assistance (ODA) budget, which Peters said had fallen from 0.3 percent of gross national income (GNI) to 0.23 percent under the last government.
Continue to the full Newsroom article || May 09, 2018 |||