Thursday, February 01, 2018

Time to increase aid spending

Stuff reports that the government is reviewing its level of spending on foreign aid. Good. As the article shows, our level of foreign aid - which was never particularly good - was systematically underfunded by National, and has eroded from 0.3% to 0.23% of GNI. This compares badly with Australia (0.27%), the OECD average (0.4%), and our longstanding international commitments (0.7%). If we're to meet the latter, we're going to need to more than triple our funding to ~$1.5 billion a year.

This is a big ask, both in terms of priorities, and MFAT's capacity to actually do it. Its likely that we'll see a much smaller increase initially. But it would be good to see a pathway laid out for us to meet our international obligations.