Our approach to aid

New Zealand works to advance sustainable development through our aid, trade, environment, diplomatic, and security cooperation. New Zealand also provides humanitarian support to save lives and relieve

On this page

A larger, re-oriented New Zealand Aid Programme

The New Zealand Aid Programme delivers New Zealand’s official support for developing countries, with a particular focus on the Pacific Islands region.

Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced that the New Zealand Aid Programme will be increased and re-oriented, starting from 1 July 2018.

Read more: Speech by Winston Peters(external link)

New Zealand’s policy for International Cooperation for Effective Sustainable Development was approved by Cabinet on 25 November 2019. This policy confirms our primary focus on the Pacific region, in line with the Pacific Reset. It reflects a shift in how our government works in the region that includes deeper collaboration with Pacific partner countries and more ambition for our Pacific engagement. It also affirms four development principles [PDF, 287 KB] to guide our development work: effectiveness, inclusiveness, resilience and sustainability. They replace our earlier policies on development quality, includding the Cross-Cutting Issues Policy and Activity Quality Policy.

The purpose of New Zealand’s aid is to develop shared prosperity and stability in the Pacific and beyond, drawing on the best of New Zealand’s knowledge and skills. We support sustainable development in developing countries to reduce poverty and contribute to a more secure, equitable and prosperous world. We follow the principles of understanding, friendship, mutual benefit and collective ambition in how we design and deliver our aid programme.

MFAT staff in Wellington and overseas are responsible for managing the New Zealand Aid Programme, working with a wide range of partners.

Our team is growing – see our vacancies page 

Where we work: Pacific focus, global reach

Samoan fishermen heading out..
Samoan fishermen heading out.

As a small donor country committed to development that works, we’re carefully targeting our efforts to where we can make a real difference.

The geographic focus for New Zealand’s aid is our Pacific neighbourhood. We invest close to 60% of our development funding within the Pacific region. We achieve global reach through targeted aid to developing countries where New Zealand has strategic interests. Beyond the Pacific, our aid focuses on initiatives in ASEAN countries. We also support projects in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Our aid programme reaches more than 150 countries through partnerships with international aid organisations and multilateral agencies, including in response to disasters and conflict.

How we work

We're committed to making our aid effective and to delivering value for investment of taxpayer funds.

International best practice and the global development agenda inform the way we work. The Sustainable Development Goals apply to all countries. New Zealand will contribute to achievement of the goals through a combination of domestic action, international leadership on global policy issues, and supporting countries through the New Zealand Aid Programme.

Find out more about New Zealand’s approach to the Sustainable Development Goals

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) provide guidance for its members to enhance quality and effectiveness of their aid programmes. The last Development Assistance Committee (DAC) peer review of the New Zealand Aid Programme was completed in 2015 (external link)(external link).

The Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation and, in the Pacific, the Forum Compact (also known as the Cairns Compact) recognise the wide range of government and non-government contributors to development and set out principles for achieving effective development. The New Zealand Aid Programme was peer reviewed by the Forum Compact in 2015

Read more about the Global Partnership(external link)

Our approach

In managing the New Zealand Aid Programme:

  • we recognise that countries lead their own development – this means aligning our support to our partners’ priorities, and making good use of their systems for planning, implementation, financial management, monitoring and reporting
  • we design our interventions so that, in the long run, our partners can sustain the activities themselves without ongoing support, in so far as possible
  • we focus on delivering measurable results – this includes taking a systematic approach to collecting quality data so we know what changes are occurring, and helping partners to do the same
  • we and our partners are clear about what we will each deliver
  • we coordinate our aid effectively with other donors, led by partner governments
  • we work inclusively with partners to deliver our aid
  • seek to strengthen international and regional organisations
  • we continue to make information on aid investments and forecast budgets more accessible
Solomon Islands school girls..
Solomon Islands education support has included a focus on more girls attending school

The cross-cutting issues of environmental protection and climate change, gender equality and human rights, child and youth well-being and prevention and resolution of conflict are integrated into all New Zealand Aid Programme initiatives. This helps deliver sustainable, inclusive outcomes.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) Strategic Intentions 2020–2024 identified the priority deliverable of a Gender Action Plan to guide and scale up New Zealand’s development cooperation programming to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment.

A Gender Action Plan 2021–2025 has been launched in March 2021. It aims to increase Aotearoa New Zealand’s gender principal investment to 4% Official Development Assistance (ODA) and gender significant investment to 60% ODA by targeting and mainstreaming gender equality and women’s empowerment across our aid programme.

The Gender Action Plan’s goal is to achieve transformative change of those formal and informal customs, norms, practices and laws in society that create or perpetuate gender inequality and social exclusion based on gender identity.

We deliver value for money by focusing our aid to have meaningful impact, and invest in initiatives only where the anticipated economic and social benefits exceed the costs.


We use cookies and other tracking technologies to improve your browsing experience on our website, to analyze our website traffic, and to understand where our visitors are coming from. You can find out more information on our Privacy Page.