Poverty and inequality continue to be a major challenge. Pressure on urban centres continues to grow with at least 15 percent of the population living in informal and squatter settlements. Land tenure issues and rural development pose significant social and economic challenges to development.
New Zealand’s total country aid flow to Fiji for 2012/13 is $NZ9.7 million. The projected bilateral development support for Fiji for 2012/13 is NZ$4 million. This bilateral programme is focused on three key areas; disaster risk reduction and response, informal settlements, and on supporting free and fair elections in Fiji. Additional support is also provided to the people of Fiji through the New Zealand Aid Programme, including:
Due to the political situation in Fiji following the December 2006 coup the New Zealand Government implemented a series of targeted measures affecting the aid programme in Fiji. Within this framework, New Zealand maintains a programme of development assistance in support of the people of Fiji.
The New Zealand Aid Programme focuses primarily on disaster risk reduction and response, and assisting people living in poverty, especially those in squatter and informal settlements. New Zealand has also allocated funding to support the process associated with the holding of free and fair elections in Fiji.
Fiji is regularly affected by tropical cyclones and flooding. Following the January 2009 floods, New Zealand committed $2 million for the longer-term reconstruction and rehabilitation of major public infrastructure assets for economic recovery. Additional funding of $4.5 million was committed through the bilateral aid programme following the 2012 floods and Tropical Cyclone Evan, with a strong focus on housing reconstruction and rebuilding livelihoods.
As part of this area of assistance, in early 2013 the New Zealand Aid Programme completed two infrastructure projects – providing a new water reticulation system and 340,000ltr water storage tank for Labasa Hospital, and the reconstruction of Nacavanadi nursing station on Gau. Work is underway on the designs for upgrading a number of emergency evacuation centres to make them fit for purpose. We are also working with Habitat for Humanity Fiji to reconstruct homes damaged in the 2012 floods and to provide improved and stronger transitional housing for those in informal settlements who were impacted by Tropical Cyclone Evan.
More than half of Fiji's population live in expanding urban areas, with over 15 percent living in an estimated 200 informal and squatter settlements (many well below the poverty line).
The New Zealand Aid Programme is supporting work that will reduce hardship and provide improved livelihood opportunities for people living in informal settlements. Our approach is to develop a clear pathway to achieve real change in living conditions and at the same time building capable and resilient urban communities that contribute to Fiji's economic development.
The New Zealand Aid Programme is supporting the Rotary Club of Lautoka and Habitat for Humanity to complete Koroipita II, the second stage of a fully serviced subdivision on the outskirts of Lautoka, that provides a safe and supportive environment for poor families as well as a range of income generation opportunities.
New Zealand is committed to working with Fiji and the international community towards the holding of free and fair elections in 2014. In 2012, New Zealand provided Technical Assistance to the Fiji Elections Office for the electronic voter registration process and supported the Constitution Commission of Fiji.