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:Continue reading