Speaker by Various Artists

Read Post

Speaker: Bad Aid: How Murray McCully is Breaking Your Aid Programme

43 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 2 Newer→ Last

  • Terence Wood,

    Thanks for the JSM quote Andrew :)

    Fionnaigh, good question, I mused on this at DevPolicy a while back: http://devpolicy.org/right-turn/

    Since Nov 2006 • 148 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Well, you're just one blog commenter, Andin, and like lawyers, I can provide you with another one that will give you a counterview.
    ;)

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Fionnaigh McKenzie,

    Yeah, thanks Andrew, I’m just feeling pessimistic about how many people are going to do that...

    CWS have an emergency appeal to cover the funding gap resulting from the abrupt changes to NGO funding – some of the CWS partners would normally receive grants in June. I believe they do excellent work, and if anyone has a few dollars to spare you could make a donation at www.cws.org.nz or buy something from gift.org.nz for any birthdays coming up.

    If anyone who knows me is reading this, I have a 30th coming up ;-) and I like bees. Just saying.

    Wellington • Since May 2011 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • Rik,

    About one dollar out of every hundred you pay in tax ends up going to the New Zealand Government aid programme. It’s not a lot of money...

    With individual income taxes sitting at around $24.3b that 1% works out at $243m. Is that really what inhabitants of a small country like NZ would call "not a lot of money"?

    Since Jun 2007 • 130 posts Report Reply

  • Terence Wood,

    Hi Rik,

    The aid programme is approx $500m. I had govt revenue as approx $50B. So that's where my figure came from.

    $500m is a lot of money true, but it's still only 1%. Or, to put it another way, not so much when you know how much is actually out there.

    Since Nov 2006 • 148 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew E, in reply to Fionnaigh McKenzie,

    Yeah, thanks Andrew, I’m just feeling pessimistic about how many people are going to do that...

    So am I. But that pessimism needs to be converted into anger about the present state of affairs, and the will to encourage others to vote for (at least) a less-worse option. As Mr Lydon sang a while back, anger is an energy.

    174.77 x 41.28 • Since Sep 2008 • 200 posts Report Reply

  • martinb,

    Oh well, at least if nothing changes hard news/ public address is here to Quaker-like provide witness- first tourism and now aid.

    Auckland • Since Jul 2010 • 201 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew E, in reply to martinb,

    It seems to me that this is an essential element of the media - to provide witness that what has been done has not gone un-noticed.

    However, to misquote a certain political theorist, the point is not only to bear witness to the things going wrong in the world, but to change them.

    174.77 x 41.28 • Since Sep 2008 • 200 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Reid, in reply to Terence Wood,

    Hi Rik,
    The aid programme is approx $500m. I had govt revenue as approx $50B. So that's where my figure came from.
    $500m is a lot of money true, but it's still only 1%. Or, to put it another way, not so much when you know how much is actually out there.

    $500m is around 0.4% of NZ's GDP (around $130b). There is a guideline of 0.7% of GDP (or was the commitment a % of GNP?) to spend on overseas development assistance, which would be $910m. By that metric NZ is not generous enough. I agree with Terence that when you look at the problems/needs around the world more would be better.

    South Africa • Since Nov 2006 • 80 posts Report Reply

  • Terence Wood,

    Thanks Matthew,

    The original agreement was .7% of GNP but now it's put in terms of GNI (Gross National Income) which is effectively equal to GNP.

    Since Nov 2006 • 148 posts Report Reply

  • Tony Parker,

    Why is it that so many Ministers in the current government seem allergic to expert advice or evidence? (Anne Tolley and National Standards springs immediately to mind, but there are plenty of other examples)

    My theory on this is that they feel experts have a vested interest in whatever is being proposed and any opposition, no matter that it is based on evidence/experience whatever, is the expert trying to protect a perceived priviliged position. At least that's the arguement that was thrown at teachers when the Bulk Funding battle was being waged.

    Napier • Since Nov 2008 • 232 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Tony Parker,

    the expert trying to protect a perceived priviliged position

    yes, standard neolib twaddle

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19565 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew E, in reply to Sacha,

    Indeed. It's what underpinned Mrs Thatcher's attitude to the UK Civil Service, and is the political ideology behind the Yes, Minister series.

    174.77 x 41.28 • Since Sep 2008 • 200 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    Well, McCully has come out swinging, labelling Adams a failur on the basis that the Auditor General's reviews of NZAID were "scathing" and that "changes were made to avoid pouring money into "poverty subsidisation" programmes."

    Having just read the 2008 review (with, as you would expect, a narrow focus on financial accountability), it asks for a greater commitment to monitoring and evaluation. This can be a good thing, insomuch as it increases the effectiveness of aid. It can also put further constraints on the resources of the agency as more is spent on Wellingtonians monitoring instead of Fijians etc implementing, and put constraints on the recipients as intensive or narrowly construed reporting requirements hamper aid delivery efforts. There is a balance to be struck, and the AGO have asked that it be moved a little. It is generally complimentary of NZAID's work.

    Having written funding applications for an Indonesian health organisation to be submitted to international agencies, I know just how hard it is for either party - even when you have a very clear idea before the fact where every dollar will be spent there is still a lot of uncertainty. On a small project it is almost a full time job.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    Sez the Muzza...

    "The acid test is this: ask the Pacific leaders whether they want New Zealand aid dollars to pour into poverty subsidisation programmes that lead nowhere and are top heavy with expensive administrators, or whether they want to prioritise the development of sustainable futures in fisheries, tourism, agriculture and horticulture. In my experience, the response is deafening."

    So how was the question asked? Where was this question popped to "Pacific leaders" And what the fuck has your "experience" got to do with it Muzza, didnt you record the results of this survey questionnaire you made of "Pacific leaders".
    Oh thats right It was more of an informal quiz couched in terms of..." Its a waste of time just giving those poor people money, they'll just waste it and we'll never be able to track it. So get your mates to set up a company as a front and we'll give it to them. 'nother drink minister?"

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1716 posts Report Reply

  • Terence Wood,

    McCully's Op-Ed is here.

    In it he states that:

    And he holds the view not uncommon in the aid industry that the business of handing out taxpayer funds should be reserved for so-called "development specialists" who are beings of superior intellect, attested to by development degrees from Massey University, who should not be accountable to the public or their elected representatives.

    I would put it to the Minister that if he had one of those degrees he would know the following:

    1. That the aid programme was actually already accountable to the public. Civil Society met with the aid programme all the time. Letters and OIA's from the public were dealt with in a timely manner. The agency coms staff presented information on aid to the public via a number of fora. And the agency was subject to all the standard checks and balances that other govt. departments face (work with Treasury, Audit Office etc.)

    2. He would also know that the two 'scathing' Audit Office reports he refers to were actually part of a series of reports that highlighted problems but then also showed them being addressed, culminating in favourable reviews. And he would be aware that the situation even at the time of the first Audit Office report still represented a considerable improvement from the last time a National Government ran our aid programme. A review of the aid programme as it was at that time is full of illuminating snippets such as the following, a quote from a staffer back then:

    ‘I inherited a major mess on the desk - mispayments, underpayments, no desk file, no filing system to track projects, no list of projects funded, documents were lost, there were basically no systems or records. It took months to find the files. When I raised my concerns, I was told to just make decisions and get on with it. It took me a year to work out what was going on.’ (p81)

    The agency was light years beyond this by the time I arrived in 2008.

    3. And he'd probably be aware that the aid programme he inherited was already involved in economic development, and the Pacific (the distribution of aid between different parts of the globe has, in fact, only changed minimally under McCully). The poverty 'subsidisation' that he sneers at, sounds like benefit payments or something, but in reality this was mostly:

    (a) Work on education and health. Both good things in their own right but, if growth's your yardstick, they're also notable contributors to increased productivity.

    (b) Attempts to improve governance. Because, at the end of the day, as McCully would know had he ever spoken to a small business-person in the Pacific, it's very hard to run a business in state where the government is dysfunctional.

    (c) Livelihoods work, i.e. helping people to provide for themselves and to produce commercially on a small scale.

    I haven't studied development at Massey University so can't speak from experience as to the quality of their programme, but I'm pretty confident that their graduates leave literate, informed and capable of coherent argument. On the basis of McCully's latest effort he really should consider enrolling.

    Since Nov 2006 • 148 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew E, in reply to Terence Wood,

    It seems to me Terence that your last post is a good draft of a counterblast to McCully's op-ed. I think you should phone the Dom Post op-ed editor and offer them an article.

    174.77 x 41.28 • Since Sep 2008 • 200 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Andrew E,

    It seems to me Terence that your last post is a good draft of a counterblast to McCully’s op-ed. I think you should phone the Dom Post op-ed editor and offer them an article.

    +1

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3886 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 2 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.