3 Jun 2011

Academic says NZ aid spending hard to track

1:33 pm on 3 June 2011

A New Zealand academic says while this country is now allocating more half a billion dollars in foreign aid it's harder than ever to get information on where that money's going.

Changes were made two years ago, bringing the semi-autonomous aid agency, NZAID, back into the ministry of foreign affairs to cut costs and improve accountability and transparency.

But under the new set-up it's difficult to get information on the spending - information that development issues professor John Overton says was readily available under the previous arrangement.

He says this lack of clarity comes when donors demand greater transparency and accountability from recipient governments.

"So donors are imposing, as I say, quite rightly, all these standards about the tracking of aid money. The irony is that we are part of an aid regime that insists on these for recipients, but we don't seem to applying these same standards to ourselves."