aid levels put nz, oz in dirty half dozen

What the - foreign aid ? New Zealand and Australia talk up good governance with their Pacific Island neighbours but fall far behind their responsibilities as global citizens. graphic | NEWS New Zealand and Australia are among six "developed" countries yet to set a timeline for achieving global aid targets. Both lag behind 11 countries from OECD, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development that have already set timelines. Developing, third-world countries have been promised a minimum of 70 cents in foreign aid for every us$100 spent in developed, first-world countries by 2015. PARIS 2005 New Zealand and Australia were among 22 governments that promised to boost aid spending in what is now known as the 2005 Paris Declaration. The declaration has triggered a decade long scramble to raise $195 billion annually, an amount estimated as minimum to end global poverty. Thirty thousand people die, every day, due to poverty, disease and starvation on a planet bursting with food and resources. PACIFIC ISLANDS In the Pacific Islands as many as one million people face death from AIDS by 2050 as well as other effects of grinding poverty as the region continues trying to adjust to centuries of globalisation. Aid assistance is supposed to be the main way of ending that poverty, according to the United Nations. Eleven countries that set timelines start with Belgium, next earliest in 2010, with ten others reaching agreed targets in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. CRITICS OECD itself leads criticism of New Zealand and Australia, stating that reasons for increasing aid spending were "inescapable." Others are more scathing, suggesting incompetence by foreign affairs ministries on both sides of the Tasman Sea. Or, worse, high-level, institutionalised corruption between political parties, elected governments and corporate donors intent on keeping the Pacific Islands weak and in disunity as project after project gets pushed through to extract natural resources and steer regional politics towards big business. "DIRTY HALF DOZEN" Exposure of the six countries through websites like inevitably leads to comments about the "dirty half dozen." A word-play on an old war movie called "The Dirty Dozen" this label has been applied to name and shame governments in the past, including for issues like tax havens, money laundering, organised crime and terrorism. Most of the naming and shaming has been by first world countries pointing fingers at third world governments - now those fingers are changing direction. SCANDANAVIAN No countries are scheduled to meet aid targets in 2011, with New Zealand and Australia two of only six countries lagging behind. Five Scandanavian countries, regarded as good governance leaders globally, have "already" reached their 2015 goals - and passed them. Global leader Sweden spends $1.03 cents on foreign aid, more than 50 per cent higher than target levels. UNITED STATES At the other end of the aid spectrum, fading superpower United States is second to last, spending just 17 cents of each $100 it lavishes on itself. Only Greece ranks lower, spending 16 cents. New Zealanders spend 27 cents on aid for every us$100, while the much wealthier economy of Australia scrapes up 30 cents.