Growing interest for aid in NZ, however public understanding and support lacking. Plus SDGs, CID Survey and more.

Posted on 23 July 2019

+ More public comms and evidence needed

Fewer people have heard about aid and development since the last poll in 2007. Despite that, interest has grown, says a new MFAT poll from The Nielson Company.

But approval for aid has dropped - from 76% in 2007 to 57% today.

No real surprises in the latest polling by MFAT (carried out by The Nielson Company). A couple of key takeouts:

  • Interest has risen, but people aren't getting enough information, stories, evidence or data to back up their support for aid on moral grounds.
  • Most people think charities are the most effective at delivering aid (61%)

More communication with the public, and resourcing to generate more data and evidence is urgently needed.

Key findings:

Interest levels in overseas aid and development assistance have risen to a third (over 33%) since the last poll in 2007. 

But knowledge of aid is low. Only 28% say they have seen or heard something in the media about aid and development. .

Four in ten (39%) New Zealanders feel that they have not heard about or do not know enough to rate the effectiveness of the New Zealand Government’s spending on overseas aid and development.

57% of New Zealanders agree with the provision of aid to less developed countries but 16% disagree. If you're interested in aid, you're more likely to support it.

But support is underpinned by a moral believe that helping other countries is the right thing to do. It's not based on evidence, because people haven't seen any.

Of the 16% who disagree with aid, they argue we should 'fix' New Zealand's problems first. No change there - except more people believe the gap between the haves and the have nots at home is growing.

Other reasons for not supporting: 

  • Giving aid is a waste of money.
  • Aid doesn’t fix the issues – only the symptoms
  • Aid money goes to the various governments/officials/not the people who need it.

"Despite general agreement with New Zealand providing aid (57%), more than a third (36%) of New Zealanders surveyed disagree that New Zealand is currently in a good financial position to give aid money to other countries."

+ Public support for Pacific trade deals 

Just over half (51%) support aid going to the Pacific as a priority - less than expected.

Support is driven by a sense of a shared destiny/history and our proximity, rather than by strategic arguments such as Pacific problems not becoming our problems and/or protecting our interests against other countries that might have influence in the Pacific region.

Top three priorities for the public:

  1. Most popular, 70% of the public support developing trade agreements to help Pacific Island countries get their products to New Zealand markets.
  2. There is high support (66%) for bringing seasonal workers to New Zealand.
  3. 65% support aid for reducing the effects of climate change in the Pacific.


+  Do you want to go to the Pacific Security Dynamics course?

Get in quick! It’s the Pacific Security Dynamics course time of the year again.

And once again Massey University and the Centre for Defence and Security Studies is offering discounted places to NGOs to ensure that development and humanitarian agencies are represented and participating.

In past years, CID members participating on the Pacific Security Dynamics course have provided invaluable contributions.

If you are interested - and get in fast - please email Anne-Marie Ngan on 

The course examines current and emerging challenges to the Asia-Pacific security environment and their implications for New Zealand, with leading experts in academia, defence and policy-making.

This course will benefit individuals or teams from New Zealand and foreign governmental agencies, defence and security organisations, private industries, and non-governmental organisations interested in security and development in the Pacific region.

It provides a platform for inter-agency, whole-of-society and region-wide security dialogue and networking.

To register your interest and find out more go here.


+ SDGs reported - but public interest lacking 

The New Zealand government reported on its first Voluntary National Review (VNR) of the SDGs in New York last week.

Meanwhile a group of civil society groups and charities from New Zealand launched its first 'People’s Report' -  the result of months of work gathering people’s and organisations’ views and expertise on progress towards the SDGs.

It identifies areas where we are making progress or lagging behind - "persistent inequality, and the major loss of our biodiversity and marine life and the worrying pollution of freshwater sources," for example.

Poorer outcomes for Maori in particular are identified.

"The many people who have contributed to the People’s Report hope that together with the government’s VNR report, it will provide a benchmark and open a new pathway for civil society and local and central government to work together," wrote authors Gill Greer and Moko Morris, Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki, Te Atiawa.

But public awareness and political interest in the SDGs remains weak.

"While its written review noted several awareness campaigns for the goals in New Zealand....there is little evidence the goals seriously feature in political discourse. The goals have only been mentioned in Parliament 33 times since being created in 2015," writes Henry Cooke in Stuff.

"In some areas there was insufficient data to properly measure progress. The report specifically noted that "data paucity" and the scale of polluting activities such as farming and fishing make it difficult to assess potential progress on marine pollution."

The Sustainable Business Council also presented in New York.

"Huge swathe of New Zealand businesses were now reporting on their emissions and setting targets to keep warming below 2 degrees Celsius," said Head of the Council, Abbie Reynolds.

If we want more public support for the SDGs, writes Henry Cooke, time to stop the acronym soup.

"Complexity generates a huge amount of work, a class of experts to do that work, and in-group codes for that class of experts to talk to each other with."

"There are 17 of them, and behind them 230 statistical indicators, which much of the world will never be able to properly measure. The goals are all generally laudable, but 17 is far too many to really focus policymakers or stir up much political pressure."

+  CID Survey launched

The CID Annual Survey of the Sector was launched at a fantastic panel discussion at the Backbencher in Wellington last week.

CID would like to thank the panelists again for their insights, analysis and thoughtful comments:

Jonathan Kings, MFAT Deputy Secretary Pacific and Development Group
Livia Esterhazy, CEO of WWF New Zealand
Claire Szabo, CEO of Habitat for Humanity New Zealand
Regina Scheyvens, Head of Massey University Institute of Development Studies
Sam Sachdeva, Newsroom Political Editor 

And a big thank you to everyone who made it to the event.

There has been on-going media coverage, on Newsroom, Newstalk ZB (news and the Heather du Plessi-Allan Drive, and the Newstalk ZB The Huddle), and Voxy as well as other media outlets.

+ DRC Ebola outbreak now international health emergency

It is almost a year after the latest outbreak of Ebola was declared in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Since August 2018, around 2,438 cases have been confirmed, with about 12 new cases reported every day. 

Last week, the World Health Organisation announced the Ebola outbreak is now an international health emergency, after the first case of Ebola was confirmed in Goma, a city of about 1 million people south of the outbreak’s epicenter.

More than 1,700 people have died in the current outbreak. This is currently the second-deadliest Ebola outbreak in history, which is unfolding in a region described as a war zone.

Almost 3,000 health workers have so far been vaccinated against the disease in Goma. The 55-member pan-African bloc African Union is currently deploying more healthcare experts to DRC and other countries within the region.

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s health minister has resigned in protest over his government’s response to the Ebola outbreak. The resignation leaves Congo’s health ministry weakened just as the World Health Organisation is ramping up its response.

Critics, such as International Rescue Committee President and former UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband argue that that the complexities of DRC as an active war zone renders the current response ineffective.


+  Submissions to Select Committee due

A reminder that the closing date for submissions to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee inquiry into aid to the Pacific closes Friday, 30 August.

CID will be making a submission. Please contact Aaron Davy or Josie Pagani with your views and submissions so that we can incorporate your views into the CID submission.

The terms of reference for this inquiry will focus on:

  • understanding the different aid models used in the Pacific, and their purpose and effectiveness
  • comparing the effectiveness of New Zealand’s past and present aid models in the Pacific to those used in other parts of the world
  • evaluating the effectiveness of existing programmes such as the Pacific Reset, Aid for Trade, and PACER Plus
  • evaluating how other countries manage their Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) programmes in the Pacific 
  • evaluating the effectiveness of New Zealand’s domestic and international partnerships that support ODA in the Pacific
  • considering value for money and accountability in respect of New Zealand’s ODA commitments in the Pacific 
  • investigating how New Zealand’s ODA programmes in the Pacific contribute to human rights and environmental sustainability 
  • evaluating the risks and opportunities arising from ODA spending in the Pacific and how they affect and contribute to short and long-term outcomes (including unintended outcomes)
  • building a social licence for ODA in the Pacific.


+ The CID Weekly is proudly sponsored by

Direct Impact Group supports organisations to maximise their social impact, because changing the world isn't easy, and in dynamic times this work is more important than ever.
+ #TheWorldIsWatching - The NZ version

Andrew Robinson from Tearfund has the bit between his teeth and with the support of Rebekah Robinson from Tonkin & Taylor (also an honorary member of the CID team!), is leading a group of New Zealand NGO CEOs, journalists and commentators to make our own version of the #theworldiswatching video on the plight of Syrian refugees.

"#TheWorldIsWatching campaign is about standing in solidarity with the innocent victims of the Syrian conflict. While the conflict is increasingly being forgotten – off our TV screens and no longer a priority for the government's aid programme – the reality is that it’s becoming increasingly difficult for the most vulnerable Syrian refugees to survive," writes Andy.
"We want to send a message that the world still cares – and that thousands and thousands of New Zealanders still care!"

This is a fantastic example of the sector coming together around a common cause and doing something to influence policy makers and the public. 

CID, on behalf of the sector is hugely grateful for Andy's leadership and passion.

One thing that would make a big difference is jobs for Syrian refugees in places like Turkey.

"There are 2.1 million working-age (15-65) registered Syrians in Turkey, but the number of Syrians actively participating in the labor market is unknown, as the informal nature of their employment makes it difficult to know exactly," writes Kemel Kirisci and Gokce Uysal Kolasin from the Brookings Institute.
+ADRA video about  Sulawesi earthquake

ADRA Indonesia have responded to the Sulawesi disaster with the 'Better Health through WASH interventions' project with the help of co-investment by MFAT, aiming to educate victims on hygienic health practices and providing them with access to basic hygiene needs. This video shows the extent of ADRA's aid; improving the quality of life of those impacted by the disaster.

This project is an prime demonstration of how organisations such as ADRA are able to maximize the impact of a project despite the restriction of limited funding, due to funding diverted to other larger projects.
+ Nominations for Code Committee Member Representative

CID is looking for a 4th Member Representative for the Code of Conduct Committee, for a period of two (2) years (renewable) from September 2019 – August 2021. 

The aim of the Code of Conduct Committee is to provide assurance to CID members, donors, the public and partners that the CID Code is being implemented effectively. It monitors adherence to the Code and compliance self-assessment and ensures that complaints in relation to the Code are examined promptly and fairly.

The Member Representative will be nominated and elected by CID member organisations.  The elected Member Representative can be:

  • current staff or board members of CID organisations
  • ex-staff and ex-board members of CID organisations
  • fully elected CID board members but not the Chair of the CID board.

Please contact Aaron Davy if you require further information, including a copy of the Code of Conduct Committee ToR or position description. The closing date for CID to receive nominations for the Member Representative role is Monday, 5th August.


+ Free Trade in Africa, Fair Trade?

Leaders from 54 African nations met on 7th July at the 12th Extraordinary Summit of the African Union (AU) in Niamey, Niger, to make a critical expansion to their continental free trade zone. The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was officially launched and all African countries except Eritrea have now signed.

If the massive deal works as hoped, it will connect 1.3 billion people, create a $3.4 trillion economic bloc, and increase commerce within the continent itself.

A number of instruments to facilitate the implementation of the agreement were launched at the summit, including rules of origin, a trade-in-goods dashboard, a payments and settlements system, and a dashboard of the AU Trade Observatory.

Ghana was also announced as the host of the AfCFTA secretariat.

However, critical parts of the agreement have yet to be finalized before countries commence trading under the AfCFTA on July 1, 2020, including schedules of tariff concessions and services commitments, and policies around investment, intellectual property, and competition. So it remains to be seen just how fair this free trade agreement is, and whether the benefits will be spread to the poorest populations across the continent.

+ No women set to achieve gender equality 

No women will achieve gender equality by 2030, writes Stephanie Siddall at UK's Bond.

The first global index measuring efforts to end gender equality, released last month by the Equal Measures 2030 partnership, found that not one country is currently set to achieve gender equality by 2030:

  • The average overall score for the 129 countries in the index (home to 95% of the world’s women and girls) was 65.7, considered "poor"
  • 21 countries scored lower than 50, with the lowest scoring countries by overall index score all appearing in the OECD’s 2018 list of fragile states
  • The world is furthest behind on gender equality issues relating to climate change, industry and innovation and – worryingly – the standalone "gender equality" goal.

+ A youth perspective on approaching life

This TEDxYouth talk by New Zealand's 11 year old Shanna Moe provides a refreshing view on approaching life's issues, with valuable lessons that prove that we can learn a lot from our children.


Aid Pacific Islands SDGs Emergency Management