Challenges with New Zealand Climate Finance

Climate finance isn’t all it seems. It’s meant to be money (often aid) that wealthier countries give developing countries to help them adapt to climate change, or to reduce developing countries’ emissions. Yet, when donors proudly announce climate finance at events like COP26 last year, quite often they aren’t actually giving new money. This was Australia’s problem at COP26, as I explained at the time.

I’ve finally had a chance to dig into New Zealand data and look at our COP26 promises, and the good news is that the major increase in climate finance that we announced is actually a real increase. This is something the government can be proud of. However, as I explain on the Devpolicy blog this morning, significant climate finance challenges still remain for New Zealand. The post is repeated over the fold.

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Budget 2022

Hi and welcome to another NZADDs update,

Once a year, every year, late at night, I start howling.

Don’t worry, it’s not lycanthropy. My problem is much more prosaic: I try to keep track of the New Zealand aid budget.

New Zealand aid transparency is improving. In between MFAT’s intermittently updated website, and its annual reports, you can – some time after the fact – cobble together a sense of what’s going on. (You can also use OECD reporting, but only after a long lag.) There’s nothing as user friendly as Australia’s “Greenbooks” of historical data. Nor is there anything as timely as Australia’s budget night aid releases.

Hence the howling. When our budget is actually released each year, working out the barest of basics of what’s changing in New Zealand aid requires devoting an evening to augmenting this spreadsheet with numbers buried places like page 90 of this PDF. Even then it’s imperfect. I have, for example, had to keep aid to Cook Islands in the totals. The government still calls the money it gives the Cooks ODA (I think about $50M a year), even though Cook Islands is no longer an ODA eligible country. Conversely, we may give some aid outside of Vote Foreign Affairs, but I can’t find it in budget documents. So I may be missing some aid spending. The big picture is correct enough though.

And here’s the big picture:

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