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I’m really quite angry about this this. I tend to try and reserve judgment of people with different ideologies until the real application can be tested and understood. But recent announcements by Murray McCully about changes to NZ aid programme are a terrible idea from start to finish. Aid and development are vast and burgeoning fields of knowledge. With increased urbanization, increased population, and increasing numbers of man-made and natural distasters aid and development may well become some of the most important methods of allocating resources around the world. In the best case this will be done in a sane and orderly manner that promotes long term peace and sustainability.
It is however a very difficult area. It is young, under resourced and by its nature deals with disastorious situations. NZ has previously maintained the noble goal of ensuring that our small contribution to the world of Aid is delivered effeciently and with the primary goal of poverty reduction. Basically this means the money goes to simple things like providing clean water, safe accommodation, food. You know, all that stuff we completely take for granted. This strategy has been widely praised and is inline with international best standards such as Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness that was signed in 2005. NZ has avoided much of the criticism and international scepticism that comes with aid from countries like the US and Australia who tie their Aid to their commercial and strategic interests.
New Zealand will now join those countries and make our AID programme responsive to our trade and political interests. So first up we see NZ aid money been diverted to subsidizing flights to the pacific. This is a fine idea and its great to be promoting NZ obligations to the pacific. But lets be clear, this is money that would otherwise be helping people in the pacific deal with day to day issues of poverty. Things like Maleria vaccinations, water pumps, grain, seeds…
Here’s two indepth articles recently published about this: