Hi and welcome to another NZADDs update.
New Zealand’s aid response to Covid-19
Last Friday, Jonathan Kings, the head of the New Zealand Government Aid Programme, published a piece discussing New Zealand’s aid response to Covid-19. It’s well worth a read. As you’d imagine, it’s fairly upbeat, but it’s also frank and quite detailed. It suggests our aid programme is thoughtfully trying to navigate very tricky times.
The only caveat I’d add is that it gives little sense of how New Zealand will contribute to the global response to this crisis. It’s fine to focus foremost on the Pacific, but as long as Covid-19 is anywhere, its effects will be everywhere. There’s no ignoring global need. Morally, we can’t shirk on global contributions either. Suffering in faraway places is still suffering.
A group of New Zealand NGOs have been calling on the government to provide $25 million of additional humanitarian funding (on top of the existing aid budget) to help tackle the global crisis. $25 million may sound a lot given New Zealand’s current economic situation, but it’s actually very affordable. It would amount to 0.03% of annual government spending. To be clear: that’s 0.03% not 3%. It is 3 cents out of every $100 of spending. It’s tiny, but also an essential start in playing our role as a global citizen.*
The Development Policy Centre (full disclosure, I currently work for them) is hosting a series on Covid-19 and development. The series has excellent contributions on the Pacific and from Pacific authors. Some of my favourites have been Michael Kabuni on PNG, Transform Aqorau on Solomon Islands and Tala Simeti on Tuvalu. There’s much more if you’re interested.
Also, the Guardian is publishing a weekly Pacific Coronavirus update.
Terence, for NZADDs admin
*Technical note: when I say “government spending” I’m referring to Core Government Spending; my figures for government spending come from actual spending for the 18/19 financial year.