8 Apr 2013

New Zealand aid policy has lost its way - academic

5:17 am on 8 April 2013

An academic says New Zealand has lost a clear direction on what its aid policy should be trying to achieve.

This follows renewed criticism of the changes made several years ago by the current foreign affairs minister Murray McCully.

Mr McCully changed the focus from poverty alleviation to sustainable economic development.

A recent editorial in Suva based Islands Business magazine called the changes at best confusing and at worst opaque and completely muddled.

It said most Pacific Islands leaders believe the changes were a mistake.

Professor of development studies at Victoria University in Wellington, Dr John Overton, says it can be hard to define and measure sustainable economic development.

"It seems to justify a wide variety of activities, a wide variety of things that aid money can be put into. So I think there are some concerns there. Prior to 2008 we had a fairly strong poverty focus in terms of the aid policy which were tagged to things like the Millennium Development Goals."