30 May 2016

McCully to blame for NZ aid underspend

3:17 pm on 30 May 2016
Murray McCully

Murray McCully Photo: Supplied

New Zealand's Foreign Minister Murray McCully is being blamed for what experts say is the second consecutive year that New Zealand has underspent its aid budget.

The New Zealand Aid Development Dialogue reported that a surprising 12 percent increase in this year's aid budget was the result of underspending in the 2014 and 2015 budgets.

A research fellow at the Australian National University, Terence Wood, said having unspent money brought forward was a positive but still raised questions about the efficiency and effectiveness of aid delivery.

Mr Wood said underspending was a new phenomenon for New Zealand's aid programme that had surfaced under Mr McCully's leadership.

"He certainly has a reputation for being a very capricious minister. Also someone who meddles with the aid programme's work and often refuses to sign off on things until the last moment. And so I think despite the best efforts of the Aid Programme, working under this sort of ministerial control is probably the main cause and the main reason why they are struggling to spend as per budgeted allocations."

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is yet to respond to the claims.

New Zealand's 2016 aid budget has increased from $US393 million last year to $US440.4 million this year with 59 percent of this going to the Pacific.