14 Feb 2011

New group monitoring New Zealand aid claims Minister against some NGOs

4:17 pm on 14 February 2011

A think tank which examines New Zealand's role in international development has expressed concern at how the work of development NGOs is being devalued under the current government.

The recently-established group, New Zealand Aid and Development Dialogues, says the increasing focus by the government on economic development in its aid programme - which is mainly in the Pacific - hasn't greatly affected its main areas: health and education.

But the group's Terence Wood says one of the most concerning things has been the change in tone which came with the Foreign Minister Murray McCully.

He says Mr McCully appears opposed to development NGOs and seems to be taking advice from a small circle of people, rather than a larger group including some with experience in development.

"And if that continues to take place, there's a real risk that mistakes will start to creep in to the work of our aid programme, our aid will become a lot less effective at helping people in developing countries."

Terence Wood