New Zealand

New Zealand’s development co-operation has a primary focus on small island developing states (SIDS) in the Pacific region. It seeks to support the social, environmental, economic, and stability and governance pillars of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. New Zealand’s total official development assistance (ODA) (USD 537.6 million, preliminary data) decreased in 2022 due to fewer disbursements within its three-year budget cycle and represented 0.23% of gross national income (GNI).

Find the methodological notes behind the profile here.

New Zealand’s development co-operation aims to achieve a more peaceful world, in which all people live in dignity and safety, all countries can prosper, and our shared environment is protected. The 2019 policy statement International Cooperation for Effective Sustainable Development commits New Zealand to work for global solutions to global sustainable development challenges, particularly climate change and its impacts. New Zealand’s ODA spending focuses on SIDS and least developed countries (LDCs), with a primary geographic focus on the Pacific, and a secondary geographic focus on South East Asia. In 2022, the New Zealand government released a new International Climate Finance Strategy to guide its climate finance investments.

Beyond its bilateral co-operation, New Zealand achieves global reach through engagement and support for the multilateral system, humanitarian assistance and regional programmes. It has developed plans to integrate gender equality and women’s empowerment, human rights, child and youth well-being, and climate action into all of New Zealand’s Aid Programme initiatives. New Zealand seeks to eliminate fossil fuel and fisheries subsidies; promotes an open, rules-based trading system; and advocates for SIDS internationally.

The 2023 OECD-DAC peer review of New Zealand’s development co-operation praised its strong political commitment to working in a way that is partner-led, its focus on indigenous knowledge and values in partnerships and policy making, civil society funding that helps strengthen local organisations, and recently scaled-up international climate finance commitments. The review encouraged New Zealand to streamline its policy framework to make the most of the closer integration of diplomatic and development efforts, undertake strategic workforce planning, strengthen transparency to support accountability and generate a sense of global citizenship among New Zealanders, and ensure that project design and implementation consistently integrate cross-cutting priorities such as gender equality and the environment. Learn more about New Zealand’s 2023 peer review.

New Zealand provided USD 537.6 million (preliminary data) of ODA in 2022 (USD 567.7 million in constant terms), representing 0.23% of GNI.1 This was a decrease of 17.2% in real terms in volume and a decrease in share of GNI from 0.28% in 2021. The government announced in 2018 that ODA would increase to 0.28% of GNI over the period 2021-22. While it met this target, New Zealand is not in line with international commitments to achieve a 0.7% ODA/GNI ratio. New Zealand provided all of its ODA as grants in 2021. Total ODA on a grant-equivalent basis has the same value as net ODA under the cash-flow methodology used in the past, as New Zealand provides only grants.2

New Zealand ranks 24th among Development Assistance Committee (DAC) countries in terms of ODA to GNI ratio. While ODA has increased steadily over the past decade, New Zealand’s ODA to GNI ratio has remained at or below 0.28%. In accordance with its geographic focus, New Zealand has the largest share of ODA to SIDS and to Oceania among DAC countries and a high share of country programmable aid.

New Zealand is committed to several international targets, Development Assistance Committee standards and recommendations. Learn more about DAC recommendations.

New Zealand provided a much higher share of its ODA bilaterally in 2021. Gross bilateral ODA was 84.5% of total ODA. Twenty per cent of gross bilateral ODA was channelled through multilateral organisations (earmarked contributions). New Zealand allocated 15.5% of total ODA as core contributions to multilateral organisations.

In 2022, New Zealand provided USD 5.5 million of gross bilateral ODA to Ukraine to respond to the impacts of Russia’s war of aggression, all of which as humanitarian assistance (preliminary data). Ukraine did not receive ODA from New Zealand in 2021.

In 2022, New Zealand provided USD 48.6 million in ODA for the COVID-19 response. Regarding COVID-19 vaccines, New Zealand provided USD 17.9 million in ODA: USD 14.6 million for doses bought specifically for developing countries and USD 3.3 million related to ancillary costs. In 2020 and 2021, New Zealand’s total bilateral support for COVID-19 response was USD 45 million and USD 160.4 million, respectively.

In 2021, New Zealand provided USD 223.4 million of gross ODA to the multilateral system, an increase of 10.3% in real terms from 2020. Of this, USD 106.1 million was core multilateral ODA, while non-core contributions were earmarked for a specific country, region, theme or purpose. Project-type funding earmarked for a specific theme and/or country accounted for 46.3% of New Zealand’s non-core contributions and 53.7% was programmatic funding (to pooled funds and specific-purpose programmes and funds).

Fifty-nine per cent of New Zealand’s total contributions to multilateral organisations in 2021 was allocated to the UN system.

The UN system received 60.7% of New Zealand’s multilateral contributions, mainly in the form of earmarked contributions. Out of a total volume of USD 135.6 million to the UN system, the top three UN recipients of New Zealand’s support (core and earmarked contributions) were UNDP (USD 28 million), UNICEF (USD 24.2 million) and WFP (USD 12.9 million).

See the section on Geographic and sectoral focus of ODA for the breakdown of bilateral allocations, including ODA earmarked through the multilateral development system. Learn more about multilateral development finance.

In 2021, New Zealand’s bilateral spending increased compared to the previous year. It provided USD 579.2 million of gross bilateral ODA (which includes earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations). This represented an increase of 19.2% in real terms from 2020.

In 2021, country programmable aid was 74.7% of New Zealand’s gross bilateral ODA, compared to a DAC country average of 45.2%. New Zealand reports less than 5% of ODA as refugee cost.

New Zealand disbursed USD 10.6 million for triangular co-operation in 2021. Its regional priority is Oceania, with a focus on agriculture, forestry, and fishing. Learn more about triangular co-operation and specific projects at the OECD’s voluntary triangular co-operation project repository.

In 2021, New Zealand channelled bilateral ODA mainly through the public sector. Technical co-operation made up 12.7% of gross ODA in 2021.

In 2021, civil society organisations (CSOs) received USD 75.9 million of gross bilateral ODA. Four per cent of gross bilateral ODA was allocated to CSOs as core contributions and 9.3% was channelled through CSOs to implement projects initiated by the donor (earmarked funding). From 2020 to 2021, the combined core and earmarked contributions for CSOs slightly decreased as a share of bilateral ODA, from 13.4% to 13.1%. Learn more about ODA allocations to and through CSOs, civil society engagement in development co-operation, and the DAC Recommendation on Enabling Civil Society in Development Co-operation and Humanitarian Aid.

In 2021, New Zealand’s bilateral ODA was primarily focused on Oceania. USD 436.4 million was allocated to Oceania and USD 71.8 million to Asia (excluding the Middle East), accounting respectively for 75.4% and 12.4% of gross bilateral ODA. USD 15.7 million (2.7%) was allocated to Africa. Oceania was also the main regional recipient of New Zealand’s earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations, in line with the policy priorities of its multilateral strategy.

In 2021, 48.4% of gross bilateral ODA went to New Zealand’s top 10 recipients. Nine of its top 10 recipients are in the Pacific region, in line with its focus on its immediate neighbourhood and its policy priorities. The share of gross bilateral ODA that was not allocated by country was 37.2%, mainly due to administrative costs and regional projects.

In 2021, the least developed countries (LDCs) received 20.9% of New Zealand’s gross bilateral ODA (USD 121.3 million). This is lower than the DAC average of 22.9%. New Zealand allocated the highest share of gross bilateral ODA (22.7%) to upper middle-income countries in 2021, noting that 37.2% was unallocated by income group. New Zealand allocated 3.4% of gross bilateral ODA to land-locked developing countries in 2021, equal to USD 19.7 million. New Zealand allocated 47.6% of gross bilateral ODA to small island developing states (SIDS) in 2021, equal to USD 275.8 million.

Support to fragile contexts reached USD 120.2 million in 2021, representing 20.7% of New Zealand’s gross bilateral ODA. Twenty per cent of this ODA was provided in the form of humanitarian assistance, increasing from 12% in 2020, while 12.5% was allocated to peace, decreasing from 21.6% in 2020. Five per cent went to conflict prevention, a subset of contributions to peace, representing a decrease from 9.2% in 2020.

Learn more about support to fragile contexts on the States of Fragility platform.

In 2021, just over one third of New Zealand’s bilateral ODA was allocated to social infrastructure and services. Investments in this area accounted for 34.6% of bilateral ODA commitments (USD 230 million), with a strong focus on support to health (USD 92.6 million), education (USD 58.2 million) and government and civil society (USD 55.8 million). ODA for production totalled 13.5% of bilateral ODA commitments (USD 78.5 million), focusing on agriculture (USD 30.2 million) and trade and tourism (USD 26.6 million). ODA for economic infrastructure and services totalled 9.3% of bilateral ODA commitments (USD 62.1 million), focusing on transport and storage (USD 22.9 million), energy (USD 18.5 million) and banking and financial services (USD 16.6 million). Bilateral humanitarian assistance amounted to USD 30.3 million (4.6% of bilateral ODA). In 2021, earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations focused on health, emergency response and agriculture, forestry and fishing.

In 2020-21, New Zealand committed 52.4% of its screened bilateral allocable aid to gender equality and women’s empowerment, as either a principal or significant objective (up from 49.7% in 2018-19, compared with the 2020-21 DAC average of 44.4%). This is equal to USD 269.7 million of bilateral ODA in support of gender equality. The share of screened bilateral allocable aid committed to gender equality and women’s empowerment as a principal objective was 2.5% in 2020-21, compared with the DAC average of 4.5%. New Zealand includes gender equality objectives in 24.2% of its ODA for humanitarian aid, compared with the 2020-21 DAC average of 17.5%. New Zealand screens all activities against the DAC gender equality policy marker (100% in 2020-21). Learn more about ODA focused on gender equality, the DAC Network on Gender Equality and the DAC Recommendation on Ending Sexual Exploitation in Development Co-operation.

In 2020-21, New Zealand committed 38.6% of its total bilateral allocable aid (USD 198.9 million) in support of the environment and the Rio Conventions (DAC average of 34.3%), up from 34.2% in 2018-19. Unpacking the environmental data further:

  • Ten per cent of screened bilateral allocable aid focused on environmental issues as a principal objective, compared with the DAC average of 11.3%.

  • Twenty-eight per cent of total bilateral allocable aid (USD 145.3 million) focused on climate change overall (the DAC average was 29%), up from 23% in 2018-19. New Zealand had a larger focus on adaptation (24.9%) than on mitigation (12%) than in 2020-21.

  • Five per cent of total bilateral allocable aid (USD 24.9 million) focused on biodiversity (compared with the DAC average of 6.5%), down from 6.9% in 2018-19.

Learn more about climate-related development finance and the DAC Declaration on Aligning Development Co-operation with the Goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

The OECD initiative Sustainable Oceans for All shows that New Zealand committed USD 36.5 million in support of the conservation and sustainable use of the ocean in 2021, down from USD 42.3 million in 2020. The 2021 value is equivalent to 7.9% of New Zealand’s bilateral allocable aid. Learn more about development co-operation in support of a sustainable ocean economy and the data platform on development finance for a sustainable ocean economy.

In 2021, New Zealand also:

  • Committed USD 7.1 million of bilateral ODA to the mobilisation of domestic resources in developing countries, amounting to 1.5% of its bilateral allocable aid. Regarding the payment of local tax and custom duties for ODA-funded goods and services, New Zealand does not generally seek tax and customs duty exemptions on its ODA-funded goods and services in partner countries and territories. It does not make information available on the OECD Digital Transparency Hub on the Tax Treatment of ODA.

  • Committed USD 135.1 million (29.3% of its bilateral allocable aid) to promote aid for trade and improve developing countries’ trade performance and integration into the world economy in 2021.

  • Committed USD 13.7 million (3% of its bilateral allocable aid) to address the immediate or underlying determinants of malnutrition in developing countries across a variety of sectors, such as maternal health, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) or agriculture.

  • Committed USD 40 million (8.7% of its bilateral allocable aid) to development co-operation projects and programmes that promote the inclusion and empowerment of persons with disabilities.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is responsible for the majority of New Zealand’s ODA, with the remainder delivered by other government ministries and agencies. The ministry’s Pacific and Development Group leads an integrated approach to New Zealand’s foreign policy and development engagement with Pacific countries. The Pacific and Development Group is also responsible for New Zealand’s development work outside the Pacific.

The ministry has about 350 staff working on development, 31% of which are in-country offices and embassies abroad.

New Zealand’s Auditor-General occasionally reviews New Zealand’s contributions to the 2030 Agenda and sustainable development. Most recently, this included a 2021 review of the Government’s Preparedness to Implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

CSOs active in development co-operation, humanitarian assistance and global citizenship education co-ordinate through the umbrella body, the Council for International Development.

Internal systems and processes help ensure the effective delivery of New Zealand’s development co-operation. Select features are shown in the table below.

The Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation monitoring exercise tracks the implementation of the effectiveness commitments. Following a reform of the exercise during 2020-22, the 4th global monitoring round (2023-26) has resumed. More detailed results for New Zealand based on the 2016 and 2018 Monitoring Rounds can be found here. Monitoring profiles for other providers are available here.

2023 OECD-DAC peer review of New Zealand:

2018 OECD-DAC mid-term review of New Zealand:

New Zealand’s Policy Statement for International Cooperation for Effective Sustainable Development:

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT):

Council for International Development (CID):

Controller and Auditor General (2021), The Government’s Preparedness to Implement the Sustainable Development Goals: Presented to the House of Representatives Under Section 20 of the Public Audit Act 2001, August 2021, Office of the Auditor-General, Wellington:

New Zealand’s practices on the Development Co-operation TIPS: Tools Insights Practices learning platform:

Member of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) since 1973.

The methodological notes provide further details on the definitions and statistical methodologies applied, including the grant-equivalent methodology, core and earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations, country programmable aid, channels of delivery, bilateral ODA unspecified/unallocated, bilateral allocable aid, the gender equality policy marker, and the environment markers.


← 1. DAC members adopted the grant-equivalent methodology starting from their reporting of 2019 data as a more accurate way to count the donor effort in development loans. See the methodological notes for further details.

← 2. Non-grants include sovereign loans, multilateral loans, equity investment and loans to the private sector.

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