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Leadership In An Insecure World: Urgent Need To Increase NZ’s Official Development Assistance At The 2024 Budget

The Council for International Development (CID) presented a compelling case to the Finance and Expenditure Select Committees this week at Parliament, urging the New Zealand Government to significantly boost its Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) at the 2024 Budget.

Led by Peter Rudd, CID’s Executive Director, the peak body organisation stressed the urgent need for increased government support amidst increasing global instability.

In March 2024, CID alongside members including 37 international development/humanitarian organisations and partners submitted an Open Letter to Prime Minister Christopher Luxon, Foreign Minister Rt Hon Winston Peters and leader of the ACT Party Hon David Seymour. The letter urged immediate action to raise New Zealand’s ODA to 0.5% in this year’s Budget.

During the presentation, Peter reiterated the plea, stressing, “We implore you to urgently raise New Zealand’s Official Development Assistance to 0.5% in the 2024 budget, with a clear plan and strategy to progress towards 0.7% ODA against GNI by 2026.” This plea aligns with New Zealand’s longstanding commitment, dating back to 1970, to achieve the 0.7% United Nations benchmark—a pledge yet to be fulfilled by New Zealand.

New Zealand has consistently ranked in the lower percentiles for ODA compared to other OECD member countries. Peter stated, “As an export facing nation we need to step up and amplify our efforts to help the world’s most vulnerable. We are seeing other countries advance their ODA commitments in the face of an increasingly complex geopolitical environment and rising humanitarian crises globally.”

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The call to action resonates against the backdrop of devastating conflicts and humanitarian crises around the world, including in Gaza, Ukraine, Myanmar, Sudan, Somalia and Ethiopia. According to the latest World Food Programme report 309 million people face acute food insecurity, an increase of 160 million people representing a 200% increase since 2020*. Escalating violence from conflict is claiming countless civilian lives including 35,000 killed in Gaza in just 7 months of war, with two thirds of those killed including women and children.

The imperative for increased support has never been more pressing. “Investing in increasing ODA expenditure is not only sound humanitarian policy but also good foreign policy and good economic policy. Addressing poverty is a signicant factor in building resilience, maintaining independence, and improving security,” Peter affirmed.

As New Zealand grapples with domestic cost of living challenges, CID and members urge the government to recognise its pivotal role in the international arena. Failing to honour ODA commitments not only undermines global poverty-alleviation efforts but also compromises New Zealand’s economic and security interests.

Peter stated “We implore New Zealand to show leadership and progress New Zealand’s ODA commitments at this year’s Budget and subsequent budgets.”

* World Food Programme Report (2024): https://www.wfp.org/publications/wfp-global-operational-response-plan

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