The Revenge of The McCully

Written By: - Date published: 7:33 am, May 28th, 2010 - 16 comments
Categories: International - Tags: ,

Murray McCully is still smarting from the Aid community so strongly (and correctly) objecting to his destruction of our world leading NZAID program, that he continues to kick them. Not content with last year’s 75% cut to the funding of the NGOs umbrella group The Council for Development, he has now suspended $26 million paid to NGOs like World Vision, Oxfam and Save the Children.

McCully is a prime meddler. He likes to govern by clique and control everything completely. This is why NZAID had to go – it was ring-fenced from his grubby little fingers. Apparently if he doesn’t control it directly it is “undemocratic”. The OECD called it “best practice”, but what would they know?

So now we have his meddling. There was no evidence or policy behind cutting the budget of these most cost-effective providers of development aid, just a bald assertion that they were out of step with the government’s new focus on economic development, which is to say that he thinks (in his own words) ‘rather too many of these programmes are focused on trade union rights in obscure parts of the world’.

McCully has pronounced himself the new arbiter of accountability. Odd for the man who in the last National government had to resign his Tourism portfolio for establishing a secret cabal to run his department that not even his Cabinet knew about. But Muzza knows better than the OECD or independent reviews or anyone else. Just trust him, okay?


16 comments on “The Revenge of The McCully”

  1. tc 1

    “McCully has pronounced himself the new arbiter of accountability.”….that means accountable to the nat’s backers like business roundtable, insurance council etc etc. If Sideshow’s lucky he may get told but he’s a puppet anyway so probably not in the loop.

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    More authoritarian/dictatorial BS coming out of NACT – colour me surprised.

  3. Sanctuary 3

    I wonder if we’ll be seeing a Jane Clifton expose on this???

  4. Alexandra 4

    This shows the true ugly face of the Nat/Act government. They appear to lack any regard for our international reputation. I hope for the sake of those dependant on aid, other governments are not so mean hearted.

  5. PK 5

    ***There was no evidence or policy behind cutting the budget of these most cost-effective providers of development aid, just a bald assertion that they were out of step with the government’s new focus on economic development***

    Isn’t there a better reason – it’s NZ money & should be spent on the poor in NZ? There are ongoing concerns about children growing up in poor conditions in NZ. It is pretty sensible to focus the money on these issues rather than overseas.

    • Bunji 5.1

      Oh don’t worry, this money isn’t going to poor NZ children. It currently isn’t going anywhere. It’s been suspended, leaving the NGOs budgets hanging, whilst McCully decides how it would best be spent – funding world-leading aid providers or some PI business venture that might enrich… Air NZ? or… I’ll let you speculate.

      We’ve pledged, along with 21 other western nations to give 0.7% of national income in foreign aid, as believe it or not, there are people a lot worse off than us out there. How are we doing? Not great. We’re at 0.29%. 5 countries including the US are worse than us, but the majority of the west is doing more to help fight world hunger and disease.

      We should be rich enough that our government can look after our own poor and give a measly 0.7% to help solve the world’s problems. If we’re not, why are we giving out tax cuts?

    • The Voice of Reason 5.2

      We already do, PK. The Ministries of Social Development, Health and Education, and others, are helping Kiwi battlers. Overseas aid is a recognition of our commitment to the rest of the world in general and the Pacific in particular.

      Mind you, it’s terrific that you think more money should be spent on helping the poor in NZ. Your conversion to socialism is good news indeed, comrade.

    • NickS 5.3

      However, if the HIV epidemic in the Pacific isn’t dealt with, NZ and Aus will in future have quite a bit of health aid work to do to prevent economic collapse in affected island states from a large segment of the working population being too sick to work + the costs of anti-retrovirals and reducing the chances of tourists getting infected and thus creating further loads on the public health sector.

      Prevention with HIV is always cheaper than treating it, particularly given how inexpensive condoms + sex-ed are.

      As for economic development, poverty is one of the key factors behind political stability, i.e. it’s a way of trying to insure against political instabilities in the Pacific region that could send refugees left right and centre, plus destabilise local economies. Along with developing new markets for our exports. And trade unions? Historically in the developed world they’ve played a very key role in ensuring workers rights, which in turn gave workers higher wages and thus more money to put into the economy and a bigger tax take, and all those other basic human rights.

      Also, in case you haven’t noticed we have a National/ACT government, historically neither party gives a crap about the poor except when they need a scape-goat. Then there’s the cuts to adult education and failure to provide any real solution to the big jump in unemployment during the recession, let alone provide a minimum wage raise to $15/hr over the next three years, and the increases to GST, cuts in early childhood eduction and lack of real tax cuts for middle-class to low income earners. Plus increases in mortgage and rents, which for a lot of people constitute a large amount of their weekly expenses

  6. Bunji 6

    To further quote from the internal aid link in my previous comment:

    “Only six countries have not yet set up a schedule to give 0.7%. These are Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland, and the United States. To raise the $195 billion a year [required to eliminate hunger and disease], these six will need to reach the goal.

    These six countries are all democracies. All that is necessary for them to reach the 0.7% goal is for enough of their citizens to show their support.”

    We need to do better as global citizens.

  7. PK 7

    ***To raise the $195 billion a year [required to eliminate hunger and disease], these six will need to reach the goal.***

    You’ll never reduce those things unless contraception gets used more widely. The high birth rates in developing countries just makes it unsustainable. Although I recall the crazy Bush administration was against family planning initiatives.

    Interesting column in the NY Times recently too about the irresponsible dads – seems it’s better to give the money to the women:

    “There’s an ugly secret of global poverty, one rarely acknowledged by aid groups or U.N. reports. It’s a blunt truth that is politically incorrect, heartbreaking, frustrating and ubiquitous:

    It’s that if the poorest families spent as much money educating their children as they do on wine, cigarettes and prostitutes, their children’s prospects would be transformed.Much suffering is caused not only by low incomes, but also by shortsighted private spending decisions by heads of households.

    That probably sounds sanctimonious, haughty and callous . . .

    The Obamzas have no mosquito net, even though they have already lost two of their eight children to malaria. They say they just can’t afford the $6 cost of a net. Nor can they afford the $2.50-a-month tuition for each of their three school-age kids.

    “It’s hard to get the money to send the kids to school,’ Mr. Obamza explained, a bit embarrassed.

    But Mr. Obamza and his wife, Valerie, do have cellphones and say they spend a combined $10 a month on call time.

    In addition, Mr. Obamza goes drinking several times a week at a village bar, spending about $1 an evening on moonshine. By his calculation, that adds up to about $12 a month — almost as much as the family rent and school fees combined.

    I asked Mr. Obamza why he prioritizes alcohol over educating his kids. He looked pained.

    Other villagers said that Mr. Obamza drinks less than the average man in the village (women drink far less). Many other men drink every evening, they said, and also spend money on cigarettes.

    “If possible, I drink every day,’ Fulbert Mfouna, a 43-year-old whose children have also had to drop out or repeat grades for lack of school fees, said forthrightly. His eldest son, Jude, is still in first grade after repeating for five years because of nonpayment of fees. Meanwhile, Mr. Mfouna acknowledged spending $2 a day on alcohol and cigarettes…

    Two M.I.T. economists, Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, found that the world’s poor typically spend about 2 percent of their income educating their children, and often larger percentages on alcohol and tobacco: 4 percent in rural Papua New Guinea, 6 percent in Indonesia, 8 percent in Mexico. The indigent also spend significant sums on soft drinks, prostitution and extravagant festivals…

    Because there’s mounting evidence that mothers are more likely than fathers to spend money educating their kids, one solution is to give women more control over purse strings and more legal title to assets. Some aid groups and U.N. agencies are working on that.

    Another approach is microsavings, helping poor people save money when banks aren’t interested in them. It’s becoming increasingly clear that the most powerful part of microfinance isn’t microlending but microsavings.

    Microsavings programs, organized by CARE and other organizations, work to turn a consumption culture into a savings culture. The programs often keep household savings in the women’s names, to give mothers more say in spending decisions, and I’ve seen them work in Africa, Latin America and Asia.

    Well-meaning humanitarians sometimes burnish suffering to make it seem more virtuous and noble than it often is. If we’re going to make more progress, and get kids like the Obamza children in school and under bed nets, we need to look unflinchingly at uncomfortable truths — and then try to redirect the family money now spent on wine and prostitution.”

  8. Quay 8

    Old muzza, up to no-good. NZAID’s focus on Poverty alleviation and UN goals such as the MDGs were its core programmes, now old Muz has got (now called the International Development Group of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade) them onto ‘economic growth’ as the development ‘solution’.

    At a recent forum, the question was asked to IDG:
    What is the (MFAT/IDG) definition of Sustainable Economic Development?


    The working definition for sustainable economic development, MFAT is using:
    “Sustainable growth of and improvements in a country’s economy reflecting increasing productivity and resulting in higher levels of material wellbeing.’

    NZAID was once a highly respective international organsiation. Now we get this.

    You don’t need to search very hard to find favourable reviews of its former self:,3343,en_2649_34603_34763772_1_1_1_1,00.html
    And on the Paris Declaration:

    Well done Muz

  9. Sarge 9

    No tax payer money should go towards foreign aid. The govt should focus on the basic services.

    If you want to give to charities, that’s your business. But the govt has no mandate to give tax dollars to a charity. Let people choose who to give their own money too. After all, they earnt it.

    • Quay 9.1

      You’re right Sarge. We live in a perfect harmonious fair world, why should we give aid money? Colonial injustice, the artificial creation of ‘states’, resource plundering, the backing of corrupt ‘third world’ dictators, trade imbalances, WB/IMF structural adjustment policies….

      Bloody bludgers!!!!!!!!!!

      • Sarge 9.1.1

        I fear you miss my point. You can give money to whatever cause you want. You can give money to the “Society for Dancing African Monkeys with Aids” for all I care. I’m not gonna stop you. But I don’t ask you to donate to the charities I support. I’ve never taken a portion of your income and redistributed it to causes I believe in. Why should other people do that to me?

        • Galeandra

          Because, Sarge Mate, you are a human bean, and that counts for more in any ethical sense than the fact that you pay tax to the NZ gummint, live in Remmers, play footie for Tawa, or drink at the RSA. It’s a matter of efficks, ol’ cock.

          [lprent: your ‘efficks’ got you in auto-moderation….. 🙂 ]

          • Sarge

            Live in Remmers?? No thanks, too many boring, self-righteous, old white guys……

            Yes, it is a matter of ethics. Which is why I give to charities I support.

            I don’t see what the problem is. If the govt gave us our money back, we could choose what cause to give to. After all, isn’t that our right, since it’s our money??

            Or, alternatively, can I send you a list of charities I give to?? After all, I’m being made to give to causes you support, so surely you’ll do the same for causes I support??

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