Aid in the 2017 Budget

Hi, welcome to another NZADDs update.

First, in one of those coordination failures that the aid world is infamous for, we managed to publish the last NZADDs update moments before Peter Adams, a former head of the New Zealand Government Aid Programme, published his assessment of the McCully years on Peter was head of the aid programme when McCully first became foreign minister and his vantage point has afforded him considerable insight. You can read his take here. Highly recommended.

Second, last week was budget week in New Zealand. That meant hours of my life lost to spreadsheets — all in the name of finding out what budget 2017 meant for New Zealand aid. What follows is my take. This was first published on the Devpolicy Blog. Please read it, and comment on it, there.

Up, down and nowhere: New Zealand aid in budget 2017

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The end of an error, or two: Murray McCully and New Zealand aid

In the last update I promised more on Murray McCully’s legacy. I’ve written about this now on the excellent NZ foreign policy blog Incline. There’s lessons for all of us from McCully’s tenure. Here’s the Incline post.

The end of an error, or two: Murray McCully and New Zealand aid

Murray McCully’s time as New Zealand’s foreign minister is at an end. On 1 May he’ll be replaced by Gerry Brownlee. It’s hard to know what Mr. Brownlee will mean for New Zealand’s aid, but it’s easy to assess Mr. McCully’s legacy. He brought change, and he claims to have brought development when before there was only pseudo-expertise and waste. But the changes he made were either unneeded or harmful, and the development achievements he claims either haven’t occurred or can’t be attributed to him.

Read the rest on Incline.


New Zealand needs an aid campaign–here’s how to get it

As the years since 2008 have shown, New Zealand needs a sustained, coordinated civil society voice that campaigns for better aid. In its absence, when the going has been tough, as it has in recent years, it is hard to effectively oppose changes for the worse. And even when the going isn’t so tough, a campaigning voice would help press for improvements.

New Zealand’s NGOs care about good aid, but it’s hard for any one NGO to speak in a concerted, ongoing way without risking its government funding. A peak body could do what individual NGO’s can’t. New Zealand’s peak body for aid NGOs is the Council for International Development, but it has always been heavily dependent on government funding too–funding which was slashed in 2010, leaving it capacity constrained (and still dependent on the government for over half of its income).

New Zealand needs a sustained, coordinated civil society voice that campaigns for better aid. And it could have one–if New Zealand’s aid NGOs were willing to devote a fraction of their revenue to the task.

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The best laid plans of New Zealand aid budgets

Hello NZADDs readers,

Picture this: 3am this morning in the NZADDs War Room. Someone is crying, looking at a pile of broken semi-colons. A man is shouting angrily, in French, at the OECD’s website. And yet the response is written. The head NZADDs econometrician turns off her calculator and places it neatly in her briefcase. The philosopher in residence tosses his beard over his shoulder and strides out into the night air.

Our reply to Vinny Nagaraj is up on the Devpolicy blog. You can read it here.

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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).

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