The impact of changes to the New Zealand aid policy on non-governmental organisations
The election of the National Party Government in 2008 led to a significant reshaping of the New Zealand aid programme. The changes became the subject of strong criticism from the New Zealand aid community in terms of the main policy underpinnings, funding schemes for (Non-Governmental Organisation) NGOs and the altered relationships between the government and development NGOs. While the literature reveals some critical observations about such changes, not much is known about the impacts of New Zealand’s Official Development Assistance (NZODA) policy on New Zealand development NGOs. This research aims to better understand the impacts of the changes to NZODA policy on the NGO sector to improve knowledge about the subject that could be applied in order to strengthen the long-term partnership and increase the effectiveness of NZODA. To achieve this goal twenty one New Zealand NGOs were interviewed regarding their views on the policy, impacts on NGO operations and policies, effects on in-country partners and relationships with the government. The criticisms of the aid community were also analysed and compared with the research findings. The research findings showed that the expressed views of NGOs indicted a wide variety of opinions on the policy changes and there was a diverse range of negative, neutral and sometimes positive views on the effects on NGOs. While the National Government’s policy agenda has dramatically affected development work of NGOs and their relationships with the government, NGO policies were less affected in some aspects. It is concluded that, whilst the relationship between the official government aid programme and the NGOs has been altered and adversely affected, there is still the basis for an effective partnership that can be reshaped and strengthened in future.