pacific islands media score an aid tick

french polynesian president gaston tong sung faces
local media at the territorial assembly in pape'ete -
french territories are back on nzaid lists.
MEDIA ANALYSIS The good news: media "capacity building" across the Pacific Islands has scored a tick in the latest five year plan for the region, from New Zealand. Under the strategy NZAID commits to: "Support capacity-building of the media, with a focus on transparency and stronger, wider public access to information," reads the strategy at page 16 of the 40 page report. THE BAD NEWS The bad news: New Zealand is still one of just half a dozen countries in of the first world not yet committing to aid targets. The Paris Agreement calls for all OECD countries to donate .7 % of their gross domestic product by the year 2015. New Zealand currently claims an increase to .27 % of GDP. A near tripling of aid is needed to reach the 2015 target. But the Pacific Strategy does not mention that target, at all. There are 30 references to 2015 on various MDG, Millennium Development Goals, but not aid targets. AID EFFECTIVENESS Latest on the aid jargon hotlist is "aid effectiveness." Under the Pacific Strategy, NZAID adopts the language but does not hold itself nearly as accountable as counterparts in Australia. There is no body like the Office of Development Effectiveness, independent from AusAID. Nor does New Zealand's Pacific Strategy include all submissions, as did the Joint Committee for Foreign Affairs and Trade. Thus there is nowhere to compare submissions with Despite calls for 'aid harmonisation' across both sides of the Tasman, AusAID barely rates a mention in the Pacific Strategy, other than vague promises. BACK-TO-BASICS Launched by Foreign Affairs minister Winston Peters, the strategy signals a back-to-basics approach with themes closely following MDGs. Plenty of the usual references to the private sector, business and economies, sure, but reference also to the "quality of economic growth." Where New Zealand falls behind in monitoring aid effectiveness, the Pacific Strategy jumps light years ahead of the Pacific 2020 report issued under the Howard government. The Howard strategy talked more about "sustained growth" than "sustainable development." “SUSTAINED ENGAGEMENT” By comparison, the independent Office of Development Effectiveness has called for "sustained engagement" with island states. This signals a possible move away from purely project-based assistance. Where donors have resisted paying for salaries and operating expenses, a long term lack of local technical expertise sees aid going towards the salaries of expatriate advisers. STRATEGY GAP Why the emphasis on the MDGs, rather than seeking to put a Kiwi stamp on regional assistance, a la the Pacific 2020 report. It's possible that happened, with the strategy apparently undergoing quite extensive review, even at final stages. For example, the PDF file was created on 27 March 2008 and last modified 25 June 2008 - a gap of nearly three months. And a full day after the launch speech by the Foreign Affairs minister. No big deal, but if there was a 24 hour gap, then the ministry would have lost out on a significant first-day news cycle as media agencies feed a hungry web. PESKY This may not be a bad thing, from a ministry point of view, avoiding pesky questions from media types. But they need not have worried. Of the 21 news stories that have appeared so far, not one of them questioned the figures from government. These are not the only gaps in media coverage of the islands region. MEDIA GAPS Radio New Zealand International, for example, does not cover Timor Leste comprehensively because, sources say, they do not have the resources. Coverage of Timor is left up to the national service, Radio New Zealand. Given that the signal is domestic, not regional like RNZI, this leaves an extraordinary gap between Pacific Islanders and events in the region’s newest nation.
More encouragingly, NZAID appears to have reversed an earlier policy to not fund any projects in French Polynesia.
A total of $642,000 has been set aside for projects in the "French territories."
Not much, but better than no engagement with a part of the world New Zealand holds close cultural and historic links - including shared concerns over issues like nuclear testing. PACIFIC AID SPEND NZ$ millions 2005 173.370 2008 242.698 LINKS nzaid main site pacific strategy 2007 - 2015 pdf one page summary pacific strategy 2007 - 2015 pdf lite version pacific strategy 2007 - 2015 pdf full version nzaid weblog on launch of pacific strategy blog + pics