A few days ago, John Key announced that NZ would be giving “millions” to the National Transitional Council representing the rebels in Libya, ahead of UN recognition of the NTC and any request from them for such aid.
What the hell is this about? Libya is an oil-rich country. The UN is right now moving to lift the freeze on Libyan assets to the tune of $US1.5 billion, so why does the NTC need money from NZ? Who is pulling Key’s strings here? And did he tell his Foreign Affairs Minister? Where is the money coming from? Are we going to cut even more of the aid programmes in the Pacific to divert money to a country which doesn’t need it? These questions need answering.
Don’t get me wrong – I think we should assist Libya as it moves towards democracy, even if it is not as we know it. They will need assistance by way of training people in the maintenance of the rule of law, the establishment of accountable public structures which are transparent to the people, governance matters, etc. That’s where we can help.
And while John Key is distributing unnecessary largesse to an organisation which has yet to get full international recognition, Murray McCully has been dragging his heels in disbursing aid promised 6 weeks ago to the relief effort in the Horn of Africa. Children are dying by the thousands from the worst drought in 20 years and a call on our aid budget in this respect is legitimate and compelled by any humanitarian impulse.
But McCully has dicked about with disbursing this money – only just an hour or two ago, putting out a release that says he has made the decision on which NGOs will get the $1million promised 6 weeks ago. Provoked by bad press. How principled. What about the $1million promised to the World Food Programme? When did that get paid, if it has been?
Not good enough, Murray.