Minister asked to look closer
“I hope a discussion with the Minister will persuade him of the huge benefit our projects bring to some of the most vulnerable groups of people in our region”.
UnionAID Executive Chair Ross Wilson was responding to Minister McCully’s comments that “too many programmes are focused on trade union rights in obscure parts of the world”.
The Minister was announcing the replacement of the community-development focussed NZAid KOHA funding scheme with the economic development focussed Sustainable Development Fund. The new scheme also requires that 75% of the $22 million fund is spent on Pacific projects.
UnionAID provided a detailed submission detailing our case that these projects have enabled very vulnerable groups of workers an opportunity to undertake effective democratic collective activity which has, particularly with the South India project, transformed the lives of their families and communities.
At a subsequent meeting Minister McCully assured UnionAID Trustees that there is no inherent prejudice against UnionAID and that he recognises the value of all communities, including unions, being involved in aid projects.
Time will tell.