Cost of living for the world's poorest

Posted on 20 May 2022

At a time when the cost of living crisis is front and centre in people’s minds, it is perhaps no surprise that international aid took a back seat in this year’s budget headlines. The government is under political pressure to respond to economic shocks that have seen soaring fuel and food prices hit the poorest the hardest. It is important however, to look beyond our shores, recognising the interconnected nature of global crises, and the dire situation for a quarter of a billion people across the world facing extreme poverty.

Conflicts such as, Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan, and more recently Ukraine, have devastated millions and the impacts have ripple effects across the globe The international aid budget supports preventative measures such as peacemaking and diplomacy, whilst also responding to humanitarian needs globally. New Zealand has prioritised significant resources for the Defence Force, and earmarked an additional 0.2%, but international aid to support the human impact, has seen no increase.  

Furthermore, the international aid budget is stretched by Covid impacts in the region and ongoing global crises in health, food security, and rising poverty across the world. These cost pressures are significant and, put simply, require more investment. 

It was also disappointing not to see greater transparency in budget spending. Unlike other country donors which provide a clear picture of planned aid spending when their budgets are released, New Zealand’s only shows high-level figures. This makes it hard to determine when new commitments have been made, and how money is planned to be distributed.  For example, it’s promising to see ‘Pacific Emergency Budget Support’ of $75M (an initiative providing funding for emergency budget support to Pacific countries facing fiscal crises due to the continuing impact of Covid) but it is unclear whether this is from the existing aid budget.   

CID member organisations have voiced their disappointment: "..Once again, this government has not adequately increased its contribution to global efforts to halt the fall of families across the world into extreme poverty… When will our government match our people’s generosity?”