Bob Geldof has called the government's official development assistance "pathetic". And he's right; we are. A comparison of 2005 official development assistance spending [PDF; sortable version here] shows that we rank second lowest in the world in absolute terms, and 18th out of 22 OECD countries by percentage of GNI. While the former is understandable, most of the other countries being richer than us, the latter is not. As Bob Geldof said, this surely does not represent the spirit of the electorate.
As for Winston's response - claiming that Geldof has his facts wrong - that is even more pathetic. Geldof was entirely right: we spend a miniscule amount on aid, and far less than we have promised. Notoriously, the government won't even set a timetable to achieve that promise, and with the miniscule increase in the last budget, has effectively reneged on its own somewhat pathetic target of increasing aid to 0.35% of GDP by 2010. As for remittances and peacekeeping, these are not aid - and to argue otherwise corrupts the very idea (what next? The US counting the destruction of Iraq as "aid"? Or maybe the tanks and guns they give to Israel to murder Palestinian children?)
The one good point is that New Zealand's aid is, in fact, aid - rather than a disguised corporate welfare programme for New Zealand businesses, and that we have kept our promises to the world's poor on access to our markets. But that's not enough. We've promised 0.7% by 2015, and we should keep that promise.
As for what we can do about it, the Point Seven campaign's advice is good: write to your MP, and tell them you want to see New Zealand keep its promises. Stuff has also asked for feedback on Geldof's comments, so filling out the form here would also help. Previous comment from Labour party activists has been that the government needs to see a strong show of support from the public in order to commit to a substantial increase, and this is an opportunity to provide one.