3 Apr 2013

New Zealand aid policy mystifies Pacific civil society groups

2:51 pm on 3 April 2013

One of the organisations directly affected by the changes made in New Zealand's approach to foreign aid spending several years ago, says the new policy has affected this country's credibility in the Pacific.

When Murray McCully became Foreign Affairs Minister, he shifted the focus of aid spending from poverty alleviation to sustainable economic development.

The approach has attracted a lot of criticism, from academics, NGOs and the media..

Last month Suva based Islands Business said most Pacific leaders see the change as a bad move and suggested the aid process is muddled and opaque.

A spokesperson for the Pacific Islands Association for Non Government Organisations, or PIANGO, Emele Duituturaga, says her body has secured new funding after losing New Zealand backing, and is now moving on in its work.

But she says many groups remain confused by New Zealand's aid approach.

"It had a very strong development with integrity focus and since the change there are a lot of us who question where is New Zealand coming from and there is a perception that all this really has to be do with private sector development rather than development which is about community development."