He’s just given some gratuitous advice to the New Zealand government that less of its aid should be directed to education and health in PNG and more to economic development.
Does Mr Maru, until recently chief of PNG’s National Development Bank, which has been rated by the Asian Development Bank as one of the worst in the Pacific, believe that education and health have nothing to do with economic development?
Radio New Zealand International reports Mr Maru, elected at this year’s national polls and shoehorned straight into the ministry, saying that if New Zealand geared more of its aid assistance toward economic development it would earn greater recognition.
“So people would start to say, ‘Oh, now we know what New Zealand is donating to Papua New Guinea. It’s been helping us with these sectors which will have a major economic impact on this country.’ So you generate goodwill that way,” he offered by way of advice.
New Zealand, which has economic problems of its own, provides $US22 million in aid to PNG, much of it going into the health and education sectors.
But Mr Maru says that, given the big spending from Australia, Japan and China, this contribution is not noticed by Papua New Guineans.
He says New Zealand would gain more notice if it put the money into geothermal power development or the dairy and sheep farming sectors.
And this in a country where child mortality, far from declining, is on the increase and significant health problems abound.
Mr Maru ought to get his priorities right.