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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Kiwis see colour of Newman's money

Kiwis see colour of Newman's money

Last updated 09:59 10/04/2011
The victims of Christchurch's earthquake are just as deserving of international charity as poverty- stricken families in the developing world, says a prominent American philanthropist.

Robert Forrester is visiting New Zealand to call for applications for $100,000 of funding available through a charity set up by the late actor Paul Newman.

Americans were shocked by the earthquake that killed up to 182 people, injured many more and left hundreds homeless, he said.

"We were stunned, it captured our attention and we were very concerned for the people of New Zealand. We were with you every painful minute of the day."

Despite the need for charity in developing countries, Forrester said that when disaster struck developed nations, people would still give.

In America's case, he said people were likely to give more, rather than sacrifice one country's needs for another.

"Americans are very responsive to the needs of others when there's a disaster. It's just part of our nature to want to help. Even during the worst economic times Americans are willing to sell their dog to give to others."

Millions of dollars poured into the Red Cross earthquake appeal, but some residents have argued financial help is not coming fast enough to those in need.

"There's a certain level of cynicism in what happens at the beginning of a disaster, when so much attention and money is being put forward and sometimes people don't know where it all goes," Forrester said.

However, developed nations such as New Zealand have the infrastructure and businesses in place to ensure the money is distributed fairly.

Forrester has worked for philanthropic organisations for more than 40 years and now heads Newman's Own Foundation.

Last year recipients of its donations included Heart Children NZ, Wellington City Mission and Age Concern Counties Manukau.

The money comes from New Zealand sales of the Paul Newman's Own salad dressing.

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