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In a few days New Zealanders go to the polls. Here, I blogged about action needed to improve New Zealand’s international development efforts. I then wrote to each political party and asked them what their election commitments were for international development. Below I assess party policies, including a table of their pledges on refugees and climate change. I conclude reflecting upon the state of foreign policy thinking amongst New Zealand political parties.
To summarise the quality of the policies, the Green and Labour Party policies are the best. The Opportunities Party (TOP) makes a decent effort, while New Zealand First and the ACT Party policies are rudimentary. The Māori Party have no foreign affairs policy on their website, but they at least acknowledged my query. The National Party comes last because they have no policy online and did not respond to me. To be fair, New Zealand First did not acknowledge my inquiry either, but they at least have information online. I did not correspond with United Future or Mana. The former has no policy, and the latter’s foreign relations policy centres on indigenous peoples.
While the Green Party Global Affairs policy lays the foundation for their international development promises, Barry Coates, the Green Party’s global affairs spokesperson, provided detail in correspondence with me. The Green Party would ensure aid analysis prioritises the poor, legislate for aid’s poverty reduction purpose, increase aid to 0.7% of GNI within four years, and shape aid to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Aid activities would be designed based on country context,and capacity development needs. The Greens pledge to reform and strengthen global governance entities. In terms of accountability, the Greens would restore a mechanism within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade for getting direct development advice to the Minister. Climate finance would be new and additional to existing aid.
By Jo Spratt.