New Zealand Prime Minister Norman Kirk opens the 23rd meeting of the consultative committee of the Colombo Plan countries in 1973. The Colombo Plan was started in 1950 by Commonwealth foreign ministers. The intention was to encourage economic and social development in poorer Asian countries, to prevent them becoming communist. The original seven members were all Commonwealth nations: Australia, Britain, Canada, Ceylon (later Sri Lanka), India, New Zealand and Pakistan. The plan grew to include 26 countries. Infrastructure, including airports, roads, railways and hospitals, was provided, but increasing the skill level of local people was equally important. New Zealand's contribution was sometimes limited – assistance was in kind rather than financial.
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Alexander Turnbull Library, Evening Post Collection (PAColl-0614)
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