Monday, August 14, 2006

Committed to development?

The Centre for Global Development's 2006 Commitment to Development Index is out, and shows that New Zealand is now in fifth place, having moved up from seventh last year. Surely this is good news, and shows our commitment to the world's poor? Not quite. While we've moved up a place, its not because we've got better. Rather, our overall score declined by 0.2 points over the last year, from 5.8 to 5.6. The reason we've moved up then is that the countries immediately above us - Finland and Australia - went backwards even faster than we did.

Looking at our country page, the immediate reason seems to be a decline in trade scores. While we're still ranked first in that area, the bar seems to have been raised. You can also see the pernicious effects of Winston Peters and anti-immigrant hysteria on our immigration policy; while we still rank highly, we've very definitely been moving in the wrong direction in that area. And our aid score is still as dismal as ever - though the pathetic amount we do give is at least well-administered and generally gets to people in actual need.

While some of it is due to changes in the way the index is calculated, overall this is not a result to be pleased with, and we should very definitely be trying harder.

Update: The Herald has picked up the story - but embarassingly seem to be relying on last year's data. Meanwhile, if you're wondering why I'm talking about having moved up two places rather than one, and Finald dropping behind us, its because I've been using the recomputed rankings on the 2006 site, rather than comparing different versions of the index.


A very large part of the reason that we've gone backwards is that we've eliminated the general skills category. Now instead of having highly educated immigrants from developing countries unable to find a job inside NZ, they're unable to get the necessary job offers from NZ employers while overseas. And countries that don't offer 'similar' work experence are downgraded by the ministry.

We shouldn't assume that the world's skilled are a bottomless pit. If our employers are going to exhibit racist/parochial tendencies and not hire people different from themselves, we'll find the migrant pool drying up as skilled individuals choose Canada or the US, and other countries, where you can actually use your PhD from an IIT.

Posted by Anonymous : 8/15/2006 09:12:00 AM