1 Nov 2017

Development projects 'need to be at heart of NZ aid'

11:50 am on 1 November 2017

A New Zealand aid researcher says the new government could dramatically change the way aid money is spent.

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Terence Wood Photo: ANU

Under the previous National government, the NZAID organisation was folded into the foreign ministry and spending focused on economic development instead of poverty alleviation.

But the Australian National University's Terence Wood, who worked for NZAID, said that often meant money went to supporting New Zealand companies instead of altruism.

Dr Wood said during the New Zealand election campaign, both Labour and the Green parties pledged to swing the focus back to poverty alleviation, which the new foreign minister, Winston Peters, has been an advocate for in the past.

"Much more important, I think, is that aid needs to be empowered as a voice within the foreign ministry. If we don't take some action, it's likely that aid will continue to be used in a way that suits New Zealand diplomats, rather than focusing on development.

"So you've really got to make sure, regardless of structure, that development objectives are put at the heart of our aid programme."

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