27 Mar 2009

Opposition gathering to NZ government's change of direction for aid agency

4:38 pm on 27 March 2009

NGOs, opposition parties and academics are rallying to oppose the New Zealand government's moves to change the direction of its aid programme.

The National-led government intends to put the NZ Aid agency within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and to change the aid focus from poverty eradication to economic development.

Opposition MP and former Oxfam executive Phil Twyford says the aid and development community is not being consulted and that the Minister is taking a secretive and undemocratic approach to the changes.

"He's not inviting public submissions, he's not inviting advice from development experts about what kind of aid works, he's not consulting partner governments in the Pacific or other development aid agencies. He's simply running an ideological agenda to really change the way that aid is delivered."

Mr Twyford says he's concerned the government can push the measures through rapidly because they only require Cabinet decisions, not law changes.