The New Zealand parliament’s Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee has just released the report from its Inquiry into New Zealand’s aid to the Pacific. You can read it here.
Different people will have different views as to the merits of the report. The main takeaway for me — both from the report and from the last decade more generally — is that well-informed politicians are an important part of giving aid well. The challenge, however, is raising understanding at a political level. The process requires more than a single select committee inquiry.
This isn’t because politicians are bad, or stupid. It’s because they are incredibly busy, have many issues to tackle, and aid is a specialist area.
If you have any ideas on how to build understanding of aid and development issues amongst a small group of politicians please let me know.
The other takeaway I got from the select committee’s report is that international indices of aid quality are flawed and prone to misuse. I already knew about problems with these indices. But their misuse was new to me. I’ll explain the issues in a coming update.