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New Zealand Increases Aid Funding as Australia Cuts It

Look out, Australia — New Zealand just made a big move by lifting its foreign aid budget in an effort to help the world’s poor. It’s exactly what we need right now, and we are so here for it.

As both countries released their 2018 Federal Budgets, New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters announced that the country is “serious about addressing global and regional challenges and helping people in need,” increasing its contribution to 0.28% of gross national income (GNI). That's putting money where your mouth is. 

It hit us hard, though, when, on the other side of the Tasman, Australia released its Federal Budget with a $141 million reduction to foreign aid, dropping Australia’s contribution to 0.19% of gross national income from 2020-2021.  

So, why should you care about helping people in other countries?

Great question.

More than 1 billion people are living in extreme poverty right now; this threatens their opportunities, access to health care and education, and denies their basic human rights. It’s something we can change, but we can’t do it without nations like Australia and New Zealand stepping up and investing 0.7% of their overall GNI pie to help those in need.

The Australian Federal Opposition Leader’s budget reply takes place on Thursday, 10 May at 7:30 p.m. AEST, when we hope to see a commitment from Labor to reverse these cuts and lay out their long-term plan for foreign aid if elected. We hope this will encourage the Turnbull Government to reconsider their position. Time will tell. 

Investing in Australian foreign aid is not only an effective way of alleviating poverty in our region, but also essential to keeping Australia safe and secure. By continuing to invest in the Indo-Pacific region through the Australian Aid program, we can achieve real improvements in education, health, better governance, equality for women and girls, and access to clean water and basic sanitation. This, in turn, builds peace and stability in the region and will ensure that Australia continues to prosper and be a leader in our region.

As we honour the centenary year of Nelson Mandela’s birth by calling on this generation to #BeTheGeneration to end extreme poverty, Australians have a unique opportunity to demonstrate our passion to make justice and freedom a reality for all.

We can be the generation to ensure that women are provided with the same opportunities as men, to ensure that 200 million girls have access to menstrual hygiene products, facilitate access to education for all children, stop 500 million people from going hungry, uphold the ability of those in conflict zones to receive an education, and eradicate preventable diseases such as polio once and for all.

But this will require courage, leadership, and a long-term plan for Australia's contribution to funding global efforts to end extreme poverty.

That’s why we need you. 

Global Citizen campaigns on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, of which investment into foreign aid is critical for delivery. Take action here.