1 May 2012

Academic queries business focus of new NZ aid scheme

1:30 pm on 1 May 2012

The head of development studies at Victoria University in Wellington, Professor John Overton, says a new aid funding scheme seems geared to ensure New Zealand companies will get a bigger slice of the aid budget.

The government is establishing a new fund, tentatively called the NZ Partnerships for International Development, as a contestable fund for non-government organisations, the state sector and private businesses to deliver aid, mostly in the Pacific.

Dr Overton says it appears the government is moving further away from the aid programmme's previous focus on poverty reduction.

He says he is against the fund in its present form and concerned the likely oversight panel has a strong business background but little involvement in aid and development.

"And I think that really reflects current policy which is using the New Zealand Aid Programme to pursue an overall strategy of business development first and foremost."

Professor John Overton of Victoria University