New Zealand to provide $15m support for Vanuatu’s Electoral Office and Cyclone Harold recovery

Foreign Affairs Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta today announced significant new funding to help Vanuatu recover from the impacts of Tropical Cyclone Harold and a new phase of support to Vanuatu’s Electoral Office.

“Cyclone Harold has been the biggest natural disaster to affect Vanuatu since Cyclone Pam in 2015, and together with the effects of COVID-19, it has caused unprecedented damage to livelihoods, infrastructure and the economy – particularly in the northern parts of the country,” Nanaia Mahuta said.

“New Zealand worked hard to support the initial response to Tropical Cyclone Harold, and now we’re committed to being a major part of the rebuild too. Today I am pleased to announce New Zealand will be investing $10 million in Vanuatu’s long term recovery effort.

“This funding will focus on rebuilding schools and health centres, repairing water and sanitation infrastructure, and the recovery of the agriculture sector. Importantly, we are also providing support to an innovative programme managed by Oxfam, which provides direct assistance to vulnerable households to enable them to purchase goods and services directly.”

Nanaia Mahuta said a stable, prosperous, and well governed Pacific is vital to New Zealand’s interests.

“We are proud to work alongside the Vanuatu Government in good times and in times of natural disaster. Investing to helping our neighbours build back better after natural disasters, improves the resilience of the region and helps safeguard lives and livelihoods,” she said.

“Separate to this support for the Tropical Cyclone Harold recovery we have also agreed to fund a second stage of the Vanuatu Electoral Environment Project (VEEP) which is delivered by the United Nations Development Programme.

“This project, valued at $5 million over the next four years, will help the Vanuatu Electoral Office to improve voter enrolment and the quality of the voter roll, and enhance public confidence in the electoral system. 

“New Zealand and Vanuatu share a commitment to democracy and free and fair elections. We are proud to be working with the UNDP and the Vanuatu electoral authorities to deliver the VEEP project.”