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NZ has been giving aid to North Korea

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 11/06/2017

New Zealand gave about $215,000 of aid to North Korea between 2008 and 2016 via a fund administered by its embassy in Seoul.

The New Zealand Taxpayers' Union discovered this via an Official Information Act request to the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), which the lobby group has released on its website on Sunday.

"While North Korea wants to wipe western nations off the face of the earth, our government has been diverting taxpayer money to business schemes owned and managed by the regime. It is inexcusable," says Jordan Williams, executive director of lobby group.

MFAT said New Zealand had not provided direct humanitarian aid to North Korea since the current government came to power in 2008.

Since 2008 a fund managed by the New Zealand embassy in Seoul allocated $30,000 a year for aid agencies such as Maranatha Trust, Red Cross, Save the Children and Marama Global. It stopped in 2016.

Newshub reported the aid money was stopped when the government became worried Kim Jong-un's regime was diverting any money it could get its hands on into its nuclear programme.

Foreign Affairs Minister Gerry Brownlee said the funding was stopped last year because of concerns over North Korea's provocative actions, including two nuclear tests in 2016.

"A small contestable fund of about $30,000 a year was administered by our embassy in Seoul, South Korea, to NGOs to support things like sanitation and food projects, utensils for orphanages and other heath projects," he said.

He told Newshub: "It's an awful situation there. You've got a complete nutter running the place."

Sone of the money went to the New Zealand Diplomatic People's Republic of Korea Society to buy fertiliser and six tractor trailer units for a New Zealand Friendship Farm.

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