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Back New Zealanders to do good in the world

Back New Zealanders to do good in the world or risk our reputation

14 December 2017

The international charity sector is calling on the new government to back New Zealand’s humanitarian and development work in the Pacific and across the world, and urgently increase funding for aid and development in today’s mini-budget.

New Zealand aid has increased slowly since 2009 (just six per cent over nine years). Despite a one-off increase this year, it is scheduled to fall again(see Chart 1).

“It’s not just about the quantity of aid, its about the quality. Everytime a New Zealander goes into a country to help in a humanitarian crisis, or lift people out of extreme poverty, save a young girl from child trafficking, or build a cyclone shelter in the Pacific, we are projecting New Zealand values in the world”, says Director of the Council for International Develoment (CID), Josie Pagani.

“Sometimes we are the only face of New Zealand in a crisis in the world. Give us the tools and the support to be the best of New Zealand in some of the most challenging places in the world.”

The longstanding target of rich countries giving 0.7 per cent of their Gross National Income (GNI) as aid is part of the Sustainable Development Goals (Target 17.2). However, aid as a share of GNI in New Zealand falls far short of this (0.21%). It has been trending downwards since 2008, and is on track to reach all time lows (see Chart 2).

“New Zealand cannot claim to be a good international citizen if our aid effort continues to slide.”

New Zealand aid as a share of GNI is well below the OECD average. If current trends continue, our ranking will fall even further. Almost all of the countries in the OECD that have lower aid/GNI ratios than New Zealand are considerably poorer than us (see Chart 3).

Aid is a very small part of government spending (less than 1 per cent). It can be increased with minimal fiscal ramifications (see Chart 4).

“The need for our aid is higher than ever. We may not be the biggest donor, but where we work we get results and we make a difference to people’s lives.

“We call on the new government to show that they support New Zealand humanitarian and development workers in today’s mini-budget by increasing the budget for aid,” says Josie Pagani.

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