The Human Rights Protection Party

What is Good for Apia is also good for Savaii!
"O le mea e lelei i Apia, e lelei foi mo Savaii"

Oct 31

Samoan PM criticises NZ tsunami report - NZ Herald

Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi.Samoa's prime minister has described as "stupid" allegations by a New Zealand report that up to US$45 million ($59.4m) of tsunami reconstruction funds have been misappropriated.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat programme Samoa had not received the vast majority of aid promised in the aftermath of the August 2009 tsunami.

In all, about US$80 million was pledged to help rebuild in the aftermath of the August 2009 tsunami, but Samoa has so far only received about US$15 million.

The Tautua Samoa Party has accused the Samoan government of not using the money it has received to help tsunami victims, and TV3's John Campbell recently said in a report on reconstruction in Samoa that this suggested up to US$45 million had not been spent on helping the hundreds of people left without running water or electricity.

Campbell said the Samoan government received donations, pledges and loans totalling 166 million tala (US$67m million), and had spent 61.8m tala (US$25m).

"That is almost exactly 100m tala less than the Government's own figures show it has budgeted to receive," he said. "That is a very large discrepancy".

A total of 9m tala provided for housing was only 5.4 per cent of the total money being made available to the government by the international community, he said.

But Prime Minister Tuilaepa said the reporter was looking in all the wrong places.

"[He] came in, spent all his time talking to the [Samoa] Observer newspaper, and then in his own words spent much time on the coast. People have moved inland. And therefore he could not have seen what has taken place," he said.

The prime minister said deputy prime minister, Misa Telefoni, provided TV3 with full details of the outlay for tsunami recovery, but the reporting from that failed to acknowledge forward budgeting for the next three years.

"All the funds that have been received from overseas, that have been pledged, came to 35m tala and we have spent already, up to end of August, 68.73m tala ($38.7m), local currency. Which means that we expended out of our own funds 33m tala, ($18.58m)" he said.

The New Zealand Government's aid agency separately said Samoa had made demonstrable progress in restoring infrastructure.

"There's certainly been areas where it's been slower and water has been a really prominent one, and people need water on a daily basis, so it's not something that can just wait," Peter Zwart, NZAID manager in Apia, told Radio New Zealand International.

"But really the long term solution is quite a complex one because these are relocated communities where there was no existing water supply to connect up to."

The tsunami killed 143 people in Samoa, while 46 others died in American Samoa and Tonga.

- NZPA

Author: HRPP
Print PDF

HRPP © 2011 - 2016. All rights reserved.