Nice sentiment but aid isn’t where it is at

Winston Peters has signaled changes in the way New Zealand will treat the Pacific nations: Quote:

The Foreign Affairs Minister has committed $70 million to non-government organisations working in the Pacific to try and build up aid and development locally.

It’s part of Winston Peters’ Pacific reset outlined in the Budget earlier this year and focuses on moving away from a reliance on international organisations.

Mr Peters announced $714 million over four years in Official Development Assistance as part of the May Budget and at an International Development Conference in Wellington today he explained what the reset means for international NGOs.

He wants taxpayers to stop seeing the Pacific through a “negative lens” and said there are huge expectations on NGOs to deliver.

He told those at the conference that “the days of treating you as pests are over”.

Mr Peters stressed the Pacific reset didn’t mean every NGO would receive more funding but those who encouraged Pacific countries to start to help themselves would benefit. End quote.

Which all sounds nice but aid is not where it is at. Take Fiji for example. They don’t actually want more NGOs sticking their nose in with usually ill-conceived aid packages.

What would be more beneficial is assistance for moving Pacific economies away from 1970s Muldoonist style excise and duty driven economies and modernising economic thinking. Funding for regional development projects, like we do in New Zealand, should also be used for the Pacific. Aid just creates bureaucracy, but funding investment in businesses coupled with freeing up moribund economies would provide a far better result.

Aid is condescending and robs people of dignity. Building capacity and developing business is the best way to help.