Seriously, there are better uses for $10 mil

Written By: - Date published: 11:18 am, July 10th, 2009 - 35 comments
Categories: International - Tags: , , ,

Why are we giving $10 million a year in aid to Niue with a population of 1600? It’s $6250 per person each bloody year. About half their GDP (most of the rest is remittances). We finance their whole government.

We’ve given them an extra $20 million (ie one whole year’s GDP) over the last five years for tourism. Most of it seems to have disappeared into Talagi’s pocket.

It’s just ridiculous. We shouldn’t pretend a first-world economy can be built on a rock in the middle of the ocean with the population of Bulls. We’re propping up a totally unsustainable economy and getting bugger all to show for it. For $10 million we could be making a real difference to many many more people in Africa or in the slums of Kolkata.

That said, don’t like this ‘I’m relaxed’ attitude from Key. The only reason to keep throwing money into this black-hole is geo-strategic. We want to keep China’s influence in the Pacific down. They’re anti-democratic and don’t give a damn about human rights. So, if we do cut aid we must do it cognisant that China will fill the void to expand its sphere of influence.

Serious decision. The kind a PM takes all the time. Needs more than a shrug of the shoulders and a grin.

35 comments on “Seriously, there are better uses for $10 mil ”

  1. Pat 1

    You’ve lost me. Why should we help a relative economic superpower like India to feed their poor, but ignore poverty in our own backyard?

    • Ari 1.1

      We shouldn’t ignore our own backyard, but we also shouldn’t send “aid” to countries that use it kleptocratically rather than for the good of their people.

    • roger nome 1.2

      Think before you post Pat … Think ….

  2. Eddie 2

    Zet, it’s a little more complicated than that. Niue is in free association with New Zealand. Their head of state is the Queen of New Zealand. More than half their population lives here.

    Of course, it shouldn’t be no strings attached. But to claim that we have no more obligation to Niue than we do to Africa or the slums of Kolkata is absurd.

    • Anita 2.1

      To strengthen Eddie’s point, colonial powers have an obligation to their ex-colonies. It would be absolutely appalling for NZ to turn its back on Niue.

      • Maynard J 2.1.1

        Not to mention that the ‘better uses’ argument ultimately leads to selfishness and self-interest.

      • Idiot/Savant 2.1.2

        They’re not just an ex-colony – every Niuean is a New Zealander, as kiwi as you or I. They have their own government, but they are also our citizens, and therefore we have responsibilities to them.

  3. sally 3

    I think the more serious point Zetetic is trying to make is that Key needs to make a decision on this, rather than just laugh it off. This is no joke, this is a very serious situation.

    BTW – according to the all-knowing Wikipedia the population of Niue is closer to 1400.

    • Anita 3.1

      If that was the point Zetetic wanted to make then I would’ve thought the title and first three paragraphs would be different.

      However you want to spin it, the post displays a pretty uneducated an offensive attitude toward our pacific neighbours, our ex-colonies and our history as a colonial power.

      • sally 3.1.1

        I don’t want to spin it at all – I actually agree with you guys that this is a little heavy handed.

        But there’s a serious issue at stake here regarding how Key has handled this.

  4. StephenR 4

    Not to mention that the ‘better uses’ argument ultimately leads to selfishness and self-interest.

    There is PLENTY of self interest. Amounts of aid given would probably decrease significantly if ‘self interest’ was no longer a viable argument i.e. ‘if the inhabitants of country x aren’t too poverty and disease stricken, they can buy more of our stuff!’ is part of the argument used to support aid.

    • Maynard J 4.1

      Most self-interest is not that long-sighted, but point taken 🙂

      I hope that aid is not only given for that reason although at some level I know that it is taken into consideration

  5. dave 5

    Yes, there are plenty of good uses for 10 mill. We could put it in the bank and save up for the next referendum

    • Maynard J 5.1

      Then we could ask “Should we have given the $10 million to Niue?”

      • felix 5.1.1

        “Should $10m in aid be considered a waste of money as part of good post-colonial governance?”

        • Anita 5.1.1.1

          Felix, as so often happens, you have just provided the best blog comment of my week 🙂

        • Maynard J 5.1.1.2

          Dammit I was trying to think of the right wording but it never came! Good stuff.

          I will sign your petition, though to make it completely Baldocked, how about “Should wasting $10m in aid as part of good post-colonial governance be considered a criminal offence in New Zealand?’

          • Anita 5.1.1.2.1

            Awesome, I had to read it three times to work out if I want to vote yes or no, you have the magic touch.

            • Maynard J 5.1.1.2.1.1

              I would like to propose a new verb – “Baldocking” – for the mangling of an otherwise reasonable question into something thoroughly incomprehensible.

            • Anita 5.1.1.2.1.2

              The referendum is not Baldock’s (his never got the signatures), it is sponsored by Sheryl Savill of Focus on the Family

            • Maynard J 5.1.1.2.1.3

              I had heard that, though he is seen as championing it. Bit of creative license? It has a nice ring to it.

  6. Tim Ellis 6

    Why stop at Niue, Zetitic? Why not cut off South Auckland or Porirua as well, while you’re at it?

  7. Zaphod Beeblebrox 7

    Actually, it is in our interests. If we stopped giving aid, nearly everyone would pack up and leave. We would have to find housing, health services etc for them. its the same for Tokelau.

    Having said that, global warming may mean that they (and half of the Pacific) will be forced to migrate anyway.

    Conversely we may not be able afford them. Thats if they decide to sell their votes at the U.N. and other international organisations.

  8. Zetetic 8

    the liberal line seems to be we have some kind of guilt debt to Niue. This debt overrides our default duty to spend our aid money to generate the greatest amount of wealth we can for the most people.

    Niue sought membership of the British Empire for protection. They became a protectorate. We annexed in 1901. Offered autonomy in 1965. They turned it down until 1974..

    I’m all for aid. More aid, that’s my motto. But aid should be used to aid. Not replace the indigenious economy. Now Niue’s economy is the Government. It employs a quarter of the inhabitants. Compare to 6% in New Zealand. Most people are employed by the government. It makes up most of GDP. It’s all funded by aid.

    We’ve destroyed the economy of Niue. Created a black-hole for aid dollars instead. I don’t see why we should keep up this enormously expensive and inefficient charade. We could be using the money to give sustainable, viable economies a hand up. Not creating something that can only ever survive with ever larger injections of money.

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 8.1

      Barack Obama would agree with you too. Did you read about the new aid package for Africa proposed by the G8?
      Aid money is being tied to actual agricultural projects not give to NGOs to drive around the countryside in SUVs or given to corrupt governments to spend on their friends.
      Problem of course is that at some stage they will have to deal the government officials when giving the aid. Key would be to get the money into the local farming economies.

  9. Good lord. Finally at Standard post I can agree with.

    • felix 9.1

      Wow.

      Now if you could only learn to type a coherent sentence in reply this would be a day to remember, wouldn’t it?

  10. Koala Jack 10

    There are even better uses for 10m.But seriously guys….Seriously.

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