NZAID: A New Delivery, A Way Forward.
Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade
1 July 2002
Today, we formally mark a new era in New Zealand’s overseas development work, with the launch of the New Zealand Agency for International Development (NZAID).
Since the start of the review of our official development assistance two years ago, an enormous amount of work has gone into establishing the blueprint for, and implementing, a new structure, set of principles and procedures governing the delivery of our development assistance overseas.
I pay tribute to all those who worked so hard contributing to this process to bring this new organisation to fruition. I acknowledge the dedication and hard work of those in the former Development Cooperation Division (DEV) over many years.
The objectives of NZAID are clear – to further improve the effectiveness of NZ’s ODA programme with a central focus on poverty elimination; to provide policy and operational advice on ODA direct to Ministers; and to build an aid agency with its own specialised staff and enhanced professional capacity in development work.
Partners will see in NZAID a professional agency operating on clearly stated principles and policies, responsive to partner needs and concerns, and dedicated to effective development outcomes.
While working more independently of MFAT, NZAID will maintain a high level of interaction and cooperation with the Ministry to achieve coherence between the strategic direction for foreign policy and ODA.
More resourcing has been put into staffing, with improved training and capacity for preparation of projects and subsequent monitoring and evaluation.
There will be fewer rotational staff and more opportunity to recruit externally staff with development expertise and experience.
Secondments into NZAID from the wider Ministry and from other agencies and NGO’s will also strengthen its capacity.
Elimination of poverty and the Millennium Development Goals adopted by the UN will provide a new policy framework. An education strategy will give greater prominence to basic education needs. Human rights, gender equity and environmental standards will be mainstreamed throughout ODA operations.
An important aspect of eliminating poverty, indeed a pre-requisite to it, ensuring good governance, the rule of law, democratic procedures and an end to corruption, will be emphasised.
The focus of NZAID will continue to be in our own neighbourhood and the region in which we have close links and greatest expertise - the Pacific.
We will consider the degree to which our ODA is too dispersed. However emphasis will continue to be placed on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of projects we support worldwide rather than on arbitrary decisions to close projects to reduce the spread of our development assistance.
We will develop centres of excellence working to our comparative advantage in poverty elimination and emphasise the establishment of monitoring and evaluation systems that measure impact.
We will need too, to recognise the need to inform and educate New Zealanders about why our contribution to international development, and the need to improve that contribution, is so vital. Not only does our contribution met basic humanitarian needs, it also helps create a stable, secure and peaceful world that is crucial to our own interests.
New Zealanders need to have confidence that their money is well spent. As a nation, we have a strong sense of fairness and decency. I believe that New Zealanders will have a strong sense of empathy with those being assisted when they understand what is being done by NZAID, why, and with what results.
Can I once again thank all those here who have contributed to the creation of NZAID and all of you from wider sectors who work so hard through development assistance to create a better and fairer world. I wish you Peter, and all of your staff in NZAID, well in the important tasks you have in front of you.