Pacific Reset so far, NZ troops come home, female peacekeepers left unprepared and more

Posted on 11 June 2019

+ So far in the Pacific Reset...

The government launched its $20 billion Defence Capability plan, which given its focus on climate change mitigation in the Pacific is being promoted by the government as part of the 'Pacific Reset'.

The bulk of the money will be spent over 11 years, and goes to 'big ticket items' like $3.5b for new and replacement naval vessels and maritime helicopters, and up to $2.5b for upgrades to New Zealand's Air Force.

The Government also plans to bolster New Zealand's army personnel to 6000 by 2035 – up from the current number of 4700 troops.

There is no doubt this improves NZDF's ability to respond to emergencies in the Pacific and this will be welcomed by Pacific community groups.

“At its heart, this new Capability Plan is a humanitarian plan. It readies New Zealand to lead in the assistance of our neighbours, and to contribute to the security of our friends in the Pacific," says Minister of Defence Ron Mark.

But the reset must be backed up with other activities that genuinely rethink our relationship with Pacific countries.

The government has set out 5 key areas for the 'reset' (good governance, human development, climate breakdown, women’s empowerment and young people), under the  core principles of 'collective ambition, mutual benefit, friendship, understanding, and sustainability'.

How's the delivery going? Here is a summary of a few of the reset activities:
  • "It is wonderful to see the considered evolution of a new climate action program, with increasing focus on adaptation," writes Oxfam's Jo Spratt in DevPolicy.
  • Climate change funding has increased.
  • Staff numbers have increases at MFAT to support the 'reset
  • The relationships with New Zealand's international NGOs is being 'reset', with a new funding system that sets out to incentivise greater partnerships in the Pacific.
But beyond that, argues Jo Spratt, it's hard to see a lot of new activities, and the focus has not been "to prioritise poverty reduction".

Others argue the potential for 'NZ Inc' (charities, government and business) to move beyond an aid relationship is just beginning, and this will ultimately be more empowering than the old 'welfare model' of aid.

The template for this exists in the diaspora community (the 'reset' is not just happening in government). Here are some examples of other sectors resetting the relationship with the Pacific:
  • The nine central banks in the Pacific joined together recently to “collaborate to promote the prosperity and economic wellbeing of our member nations,” says Caren Rangi (Director of the Cook Islands Investment Corporation). This is the kind of partnership New Zealand can help to encourage under the 'reset' agenda, she argues.
  • From the 2018 Joint Ministerial Forum between New Zealand and the Cook Islands, New Zealand facilitated an opportunity for the Federation of Maori Authorities to share and use the expertise of their membership for Cook Islands projects. For example, deforestation in the outer islands. Under a 'reset', New Zealand can facilitate more Pacific led opportunities like this.
Comparing the 'resets' and 'step ups', New Zealand is arguably doing better than Australia. An increase in NZ aid levels in this year’s budget (2019-2020), maintains our aid/gross national income ratio at 0.28%. The rate of budgeted increases has actually gone up since the last budget, writes Terence Wood in DevPolicy Blog.

Meanwhile Australian aid levels continue to tumble down to the '0.2% club', even though Australia's PM, Scott Morrison has certainly stepped up his visits to the Pacific, and funding for infrastructure.

Clearly the 'reset' has only just begun.
+ NZ withdraws troop from Iraq

The government has announced it will withdraw New Zealand's 95 troops stationed in Camp Taji where they are training Iraqi soldiers, but not until next year, reports Henry Cooke in Stuff.

New Zealand has had a joint-training mission in Iraq with Australia since 2015, all part of the US-led Operation Inherent Resolve.

New Zealand will slightly increase its annual contribution to an Iraqi stabilisation fund - up to $3 million from $2.4m prior - for the next three years. This will come out of MFAT's aid budget, and will contribute to the rebuild.

In 2018, donors globally committed $30 billion to help rebuild Iraq after the disastrous effects of many cycles of war, and the ravages of ISIS. This is about a third of what the country has said it needs, reports Emma Graham Harrison in the UK Guardian.

The money is a mix of grants, loans and investment promises, with neighbours Kuwait, Turkey and Saudi Arabia among the biggest donors, along with nearby Qatar.

ISIS lost all territorial control in the Middle East earlier this year, but the potential for them to flourish again in decimated villages across the country remains.

"The shift in the power balance enables it to reclaim the mantle of victimhood and, at the same time, reimagine its past as a utopian enterprise," writes Alia Brahimi in the UK Guardian.

"It is only helped along by far-right extremism of the sort behind the attack in New Zealand, which makes newly relevant a large part of mainstream jihadist discourse about Muslims under siege, even in the west."

+ Trump's trade war will hurt poorest the most 

Donald Trump’s tariff threat against Mexico may be resolved for now, but points to much darker times ahead for the global economy, writes Roland Rajah in The Interpretor.

A trade war is bad news for developing countries.

"That trade battle is also unhelpfully mixed up with genuine geostrategic issues, so the implications extend much further than trade."

A new UN study looks at the implications of a reintroduction of tariffs on developing countries.

"Tariff increases penalize not only the assembler of a product, but also suppliers along the chain. For example, the high volume of Chinese exports affected by US tariffs is likely to hit East Asian value chains the hardest, with UNCTAD estimating that they could contract by about $160 billion."
+ Female peacekeepers: the boundary of caring and its expectations

Georgina Holmes writes in The Conversation, that female military peacekeepers deployed to complex UN missions often feel overwhelmed and ill-prepared when providing assistance to local women and girls who’ve been the victims of violence.

The UN expects female peacekeepers around the world to improve the effectiveness of missions by gaining access to members of local communities that male peacekeepers cannot reach. Georgina's recent research in Rwanda showed that women peacekeepers need more support in their work.

She looked at whether the kind of training women from the Rwanda Defence Force received before their deployment in mixed-gender battalions to the UN Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) and the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) was sufficient for the challenges they would face on their mission.
+ Additional $1.5 for women's empowerment
USAID has announced US$1.5 million in new grant funding for the W-GDP WomenConnect Challenge. The Challenge calls for global solutions that empower women and girls to have access to, and use, digital technology to advance W-GDP’s three pillars: 1) Women prospering in the workforce; 2) Women succeeding as entrepreneurs; and 3) Women enabled in the economy by removing restrictive legal, regulatory and cultural barriers.

The W-GDP WomenConnect Challenge is part of a whole-of-Government effort to advance global women’s economic empowerment worldwide. W-GDP seeks to economically empower 50 million women in the developing world by 2025.
+ 9 Wire Story - because 'no.8 wire' thinking won't work anymore!

CID member, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) have launched a new innovation hub to support anyone with a great idea to help the environment. It's 'no. 9 Wire' thinking, because the old 'no. 8 Wire' thinking won't be enough to solve today's problems.

"9Wire is all about bringing together brilliant thinkers with the right investors and mentors who can help take ideas from blackboard to real world'.

Charities, businesses, social enterprises or just individuals can apply.

"Applying to 9Wire allows us to be your bridge over the hurdles and headaches that come with trying to find the right help, support, and funding for innovation or community environmental projects."

WWF is modelling a new approach to collaboration across sectors that focuses primarily on who can have the greatest impact.
+ An NZ development eco-system. Discussion paper

This document provides some points for discussion on the current shape of the NZ aid ecosystem, and highlights some challenges.

To be more effective, argues author Chris Clarke (former CEO of World Vision), we must move:

From Funder  to Investor
From Projects to Programmes
From Episodic  to Sustainable
From Outputs to Outcomes
From Competition to Collaboration
From Stand Alone  to Partner for Innovation
From Underwriter to Leveraged
From Broker to Facilitator
From Risk Aversion to Nimble and Failing Forward

Download the discussion paper, here.
+ A free online tool to support development practitioners with M&E activities

The M&E Universe is a free, online resource developed by INTRAC to support development practitioners involved in monitoring and evaluation (M&E). It consists of a series of short papers (2-6 pages) on different subjects related to M&E. It can be explored through an online platform ( that is compatible with most web browsers.

The M&E Universe is designed for M&E practitioners with different levels of experience and expertise in M&E, from those new to M&E who want an entry level into the subject to experienced practitioners wanting to broaden their knowledge. 

Also, Bond UK offers a range of monitoring and evaluation courses to develop your skills: Introduction to monitoring, evaluation and learningTheory of change essentialsPlanning and practice in monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning.

+ Video of last week's CID Talk: Social enterprises in not-for-profit

Dr Tricia Fitzgerald has a PhD in the emergence of social enterprises in non-profits, and many years’ experience working in and with not-for-profits, in management, governance and as a consultant.

Last week Tricia presented a very interesting CID Talk at CID offices on “Social Enterprise in Not-for-Profits”, and simultaneously facilitated an intimate discussion on reasons why not-for-profits are considering the development of social enterprises, problems typically encountered, and the different ways of working between social and commercial organisations. Thank you, Tricia.

If you have missed the CID Talk, you can watch the video here.

+ The CID Weekly is proudly sponsored by


Pacific Islands New Zealand