NZ aid to Pacific rated better than Australia's
Deakin University Research Institute rates New Zealand's aid to the Pacific is better quality than Australia's.
New Zealand's aid to the Pacific is better quality than Australia's, according to an Australian academic from the Alfred Deakin Research Institute.
The Australian Institute has launched its Sustineo Pacific Index giving New Zealand a score that's nearly double that of second placed Australia.
The index ranks and assesses 27 OECD countries on aid, trade, migration, finance, security, the creation and dissemination of new technologies and the promotion of environmental sustainability.
The top five donor countries in the Pacific region are: New Zealand, Australia, Denmark, Finland and Portugal.
The Institute's Professor Mark McGillivray spoke to Indira Moala.
MARK MCGILLIVRAY: New Zealand provides more aid relative to its Gross National Income to the Pacific than Australia, and its aid is also of slightly better quality. Where New Zealand really thumps Australia and the other donor countries is in migration. New Zealand has a much larger inflow of migrants from the Pacific relative to its population and also a larger flow of students from the Pacific. And on those grounds it comes out a long way ahead of the number 2 ranked country which is Australia.
INDIRA MOALA: Now, an interesting thing that you picked up through the results of the index, you found solid evidence that poverty in the Pacific is increasing even though Pacific countries are one of the highest recipients of development aid in the world.
MM: That is the case. It's quite a paradox that a region so heavily aided does so poorly in many development achievements - not only poverty but struggles with education and health achievement as well. I think what's happened is there's been an over-reliance on aid in the past and some of the aid has been of poor quality as well.
IM: And how can we improve on that? Because the World Bank recently released a report that detailed the increasing hardship in the Pacific, which supports your findings and if the aid and development efforts have increased actually over the years, how can the region move forward?
MM: Look, a couple of points. In terms of external support for development in the Pacific, I would say to donor countries to look at the experience of New Zealand. Try to give a greater preference to Pacific island migrants. Not only just look at aid, but look at drivers of growth and development other than aid: migration, greater support for environmental sustainability, greater support for technology transfer, higher levels of finance, of foreign direct investment and so on.
IM: It's interestign to note that many Pacific island people consider the label poverty to be culturally inappropriate because it doesn't take into account the richness people have in terms of land, culture, soil and so on. And the World Bank in their report referred to the term as hardship instead. Now when you talk about poverty from your index are you referring to all those factors as well?
MM: No. Wheh I refer to poverty, I'm mainly referring to a shortfall in income so that people cannot satusfy their basic human needs.It is true though that there are big challenges in respect to health and education. There are far too many children who die before their fifth birthdays. There are far too many children who do not complete primary schooling, and there are also challenges in many areas of health within the region. So while Pacific people do have idyllic lifestyles, there are some big development challenges that the islands face.
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