2 Jun 2017

New Zealand still struggling to spend its aid budget - Researcher

11:24 am on 2 June 2017

A New Zealand aid researcher says he doubts the New Zealand aid programme can spend the substantial increase it has received in this year's Budget.

The New Zealand government effectively has 18 percent more to spend on aid in the coming year.

Australian National University researcher Terence Wood said the increase is a result of the aid programme underspending for the first two years of its current three year budget cycle.

Aid workers and the Royal New Zealand Air Force personnel loading supplies

Photo: NZDF

He said this latest spike was an attempt by the ministry to try and make up for that in the final year of the triennium.

The former minister had dismissed similar accusations made by Mr Wood in regards to a 12 percent increase to the aid budget in 2016.

But Mr Wood says this 18 percent increase shows that the New Zealand aid programme continues to experience difficulties getting money out the door.

"I think it is going to be a real challenge in fact I think it is almost implausible that the aid programme will actually increase its spend by 18 percent over the coming financial year. So what we are seeing in the budget is an accounting exercise that doesn't tell us perhaps that much about what will actually be spent," said Terence Wood.

RNZ Pacific has contacted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade for comment.

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