Update: more budget, credit where due, and NZers’ views on aid

Hello and welcome to another NZADDs update,

The Budget Again
As promised, Jo and I now have more budget analysis up on the Devpolicy Blog. The aid budget has also been covered on Radio New Zealand.

Credit where Credit is Due
Having complained about Minister McCully’s impacts on New Zealand aid spending, fairness requires giving him credit where it’s due. And it definitely seems due for the recently announced increase in the humanitarian aid that New Zealand is giving to assist NGOs working to help assuage the suffering associated with the Syrian crisis. Well done.

What do New Zealander’s think about Aid
It has been a long time since anyone asked New Zealanders what they think about aid. So the Development Policy Centre recently funded a series of questions about aid in a UMR omnibus survey (with a sample size of 1124 people).

My Devpolicy colleague Camilla Burkot and I have a blog post up on Devpolicy reporting on the results. The blog post is pitched to an Australian audience, so focuses on comparisons between the two countries (New Zealanders are notably less keen on aid cuts but have similar views to Australians about the purpose of aid). If you can’t bear to think about the sunburnt continent and just want the basic details on New Zealanders, the headline results are below. (Camilla and I are also working on regression analysis looking at the personal traits associated with support; when we have good answers we’ll publish them on Devpolicy.)

New Zealanders’ opinions on aid volume

Question: “Every year the New Zealand government gives aid money to poorer countries. Currently just under $1 out of every $100 of New Zealand government spending is given as aid. Which of the following options best reflects your opinion about aid spending …”.

New Zealanders’ opinions on the purpose of aid

Question: “Do you think New Zealand government aid to poor countries should be given primarily for the purpose of helping people in poor countries, or do you think New Zealand aid should be given primarily to help advance New Zealand’s commercial and strategic interests?”

New Zealanders’ opinions about the effectiveness of aid

Question: “Thinking about the aid that the governments of wealthier countries such as New Zealand give to poorer countries, and what this aid actually achieves, on average do you think that this aid …”

For what it’s worth there is a simple bivariate correlation between views on aid effectiveness and views on aid volume: people who think aid works are more supportive of giving more aid. (Remember that correlation does not guarantee causation; although assuming that beliefs about effectiveness at least partially cause support for aid does not seem wildly unreasonable. We’re planning to analyse further though.)

In addition to questions about aid we also asked people their views about development progress. The results are below.

New Zealanders’ opinions about development progress

Question: “Think about the following statement. “In the last 15 years the lives of poor people living in the typical poor country have improved significantly.” Do you think this statement is:”

Terence (for the NZADDs charting division)