New Zealand in a good position to raise development aid ambitions


23/06/2015 - New Zealand is a valued development partner for its small island neighbours, delivering aid effectively and using its experience of natural disasters to help manage risks in the region. It complements its development assistance by using liberal trade and employment systems to support poor countries, according to the OECD’s latest Peer Review of New Zealand.


However in terms of the amount of aid provided, New Zealand lags other donors in the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC). The Review recommends the country use its economic recovery as an opportunity to raise its ambitions and set a time frame for lifting its aid budget towards an internationally agreed target for donor countries of 0.7% of gross national income.


New Zealand increased its official development assistance (ODA) to USD 502 million in 2014, according to provisional figures, from USD 441 million in 2013. However the 2014 level amounts to 0.27% of its GNI, compared to an average of 0.39% for DAC members.


“New Zealand should be commended for its hard work in some of the most vulnerable and disaster-prone parts of the world, particularly in its own Pacific region,” said DAC Chair Erik Solheim. “But its ODA to GNI ratio has not exceeded 0.3% in recent years, which does not compare well with countries of a similar size. I encourage New Zealand to do more of what it already does well.”


The Review noted that New Zealand has fully implemented six and partially implemented nine of the 18 recommendations made in the last Review in 2010. It finds that New Zealand still has an over-centralised approach to decision-making, specialist skills are spread too thinly and more should be done to support capacity building in its partner countries.


The top recipients of New Zealand’s aid in 2013 were the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Tokelau, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu, Niue, Afghanistan, the Cook Islands and Kiribati.


Each DAC member is reviewed every 4-5 years as a way to monitor its performance, hold it accountable for past commitments and recommend improvements. A Review uses input from officials in the country being reviewed as well as civil society, the private sector and other donors in recipient countries. Read more about DAC Peer Reviews.


A freely embeddable version of the report is available, together with information about downloadable and print versions.


An interactive data visualisation of New Zealand’s aid versus other donors is also available.


For further information, or to speak to the report’s author, journalists are invited to contact Catherine Bremer in the OECD Media Office (+33 1 45 24 80 97.)


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