27 Mar 2009

Pressure mounts on Govt to consult over NZAID review

8:24 pm on 27 March 2009

The Government is under pressure to consult with other political parties and non-governmental organisations about proposed changes to aid agency NZAID.

Labour, the Green and the Progressive parties and United Future co-hosted a summit on the future of New Zealand's international aid and development agency in Wellington on Friday.

About 120 representatives from various non-government organisations (NGO) attended the summit, along with a a number of MPs.

Many in the sector are upset that a government review of NZAID'S functions could see the agency put in the control of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Labour MP Phil Twyford says there were serious issues with the delivery of aid before NZAID was set up as a semi-autonomous agency.

Mr Twyford says the summit sent a communique to Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully asking him to open up the process to public consultation.

Oxfam New Zealand says non-government organisations should be consulted over any changes to NZAID. Executive director Barry Coates says it knew there was a review coming, but was not aware of the manner in which it would be carried out.

Mr Coates says NZAID is an organisation that New Zealand can be proud of, and there is a danger is that the Government is going to throw that away.

But Mr McCully says aid money that is being talked about is not NGO money - it is New Zealand taxpayers' money.

The minister says has already indicated that he hopes the current review will be completed before the Budget due to be delivered on 28 May.