One of the changes under Labour were to make the aid division of MFAT semi-independent so that aid programmes would not be used to advance foreign policy.
MPs are reported today as being concerned the two are still linked.
I will play devil’s advocate and say why should they not be linked. Lets be honest our $240 million can not solve 1% of the world’s poverty so why not spend it where it can be of most advantage. I mean Howard’s masterful $1 billion tsunami package was as much about foreign policy as aid.
I also get nervous when I see a Labour MP saying “New Zealand Aid needed to work on building support for trebling aid to the international target of 0.7 per cent of gross national income”.
No they should not. NZ Aid is a Government Department/Agency. It is not their job to get involved in what is a very political decision – our level of total aid. It is like saying the job of the Ministry of Education is to build support for spending more on education.