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. Total official development assistance (ODA) (USD 681.0 million, preliminary data) increased slightly in 2021, representing 0.28% of gross national income (GNI). ODA increases exceeded COVID-19 vaccine donations.

Find the methodological notes behind the profile here.

New Zealand aims for “a more peaceful world, in which all people live in dignity and safety, all countries can prosper and our shared environment is protected.” Its policy for International Cooperation for Effective Sustainable Development commits New Zealand to working for global solutions to global sustainable development challenges, particularly climate change and its impacts. New Zealand’s ODA spending focuses on countries most in need, particularly SIDS and least developed countries (LDCs), with a primary geographic focus on the Pacific, and a secondary geographic focus on South East Asia.

Beyond this, New Zealand achieves global reach through strong engagement and support through the multilateral system, humanitarian assistance and regional programmes. It focuses on preventing and resolving conflict and has developed plans to integrate gender equality and women’s empowerment, human rights, child and youth well-being, and climate action into all New Zealand Aid Programme initiatives. New Zealand seeks to eliminate fossil fuel and fisheries subsidies, promotes an open, rules-based trading system, advocates for SIDS and maintains a special focus on oceans issues.

A 2018 OECD-DAC mid-term review of New Zealand’s development co-operation praised its solutions-based, whole-of-government approach to sustainable development in the Pacific, as well as its efforts to progress policy coherence for sustainable development. It encouraged New Zealand to clarify how its development co-operation will be inclusive, equitable and leave no one behind, and noted the need for a more transparent approach to its development co-operation. Learn more about New Zealand’s 2018 mid-term review. The next OECD-DAC peer review is due to commence in 2022.

New Zealand provided USD 681.0 million (preliminary data) of ODA in 2021,1 representing 0.28% of GNI. This was an increase of 13.8% in real terms in volume and an increase in share of GNI from 2020. The government announced in 2018 that ODA would increase to 0.28% of GNI over the period to 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 2020.2

New Zealand ranks 17th 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 and Development Assistance Committee standards and recommendations. Learn more about DAC recommendations.

New Zealand provided most of its ODA bilaterally in 2020. Gross bilateral ODA was 81.8% of total ODA. Twenty per cent of gross bilateral ODA was channelled through multilateral organisations (earmarked contributions). New Zealand allocated 18.2% of total ODA as core contributions to multilateral organisations.

In 2020, New Zealand provided USD 45.0 million of gross bilateral ODA for the COVID-19 response, representing 10.4% of its total gross bilateral ODA. Six per cent of total gross bilateral ODA was provided as health expenditure within the COVID-19 response.

In 2020, New Zealand provided USD 180.8 million of gross ODA to the multilateral system, an increase of 3.1% in real terms from 2019. Of this, USD 96.3 million was core multilateral ODA, while non-core contributions were earmarked for a specific country, region, theme or purpose. Project-type funding that is earmarked for a specific theme and/or country accounted for 61.0% of New Zealand’s non-core contributions and 39.0% was programmatic funding (to pooled funds and specific-purpose programmes and funds).

Eighty-five per cent of New Zealand’s total contributions to multilateral organisations in 2020 was allocated to the United Nations system and other multilateral institutions.

The UN system received 61.4% of New Zealand’s gross ODA to the multilateral system, mainly through earmarked contributions. Out of a total volume of USD 111.0 million to the UN system, the top three UN recipients of New Zealand’s support (core and earmarked contributions) were: the UNDP (USD 26.8 million), UNICEF (USD 13.0 million) and the UNHCR (USD 9.2 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 2020, New Zealand’s bilateral spending declined compared to the previous year. It provided USD 433.4 million of gross bilateral ODA (which includes earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations). This represented a decrease of 5.3% in real terms from 2019.

In 2020, country programmable aid was 74.0% of New Zealand’s gross bilateral ODA, compared to a DAC country average of 49.7%.

New Zealand disbursed USD 4.3 million for triangular co-operation in 2020. Learn more about specific projects at the OECD’s voluntary triangular co-operation project repository and more broadly.

In 2020, New Zealand channelled bilateral ODA mainly through the public sector and multilateral organisations, as earmarked funding. Technical co-operation made up 20.2% of gross ODA in 2020.

In 2020, civil society organisations (CSOs) received USD 53.7 million of gross bilateral ODA. Three 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 2019 to 2020, the combined core and earmarked contributions for CSOs decreased as a share of bilateral ODA, from 13.2% to 12.4%. 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 2020, New Zealand’s bilateral ODA was primarily focused on Oceania and Asia. USD 293.9 million was allocated to Oceania and USD 77.4 million to Asia, accounting respectively for 67.8% and 17.9% of gross bilateral ODA. Oceania and Asia were also the main regional recipients of New Zealand’s earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations, in line with the policy priorities of its multilateral strategy.

In 2020, 42.7% 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 36.7%, mainly due to administrative costs and regional projects.

In 2020, the LDCs received 28.3% of New Zealand’s gross bilateral ODA (USD 122.9 million). This is just above the DAC country average of 24.4%. Nineteen percent of New Zealand’s gross bilateral ODA (USD 82.2 million, 19.0%) went to upper middle-income countries in 2020, noting that 36.7% was unallocated by income group. New Zealand allocated 41.1% of gross bilateral ODA to SIDS in 2020, equal to USD 178.1 million.

Support to fragile contexts reached USD 97.2 million in 2020, representing 22.4% of New Zealand’s gross bilateral ODA. Fourteen per cent of this ODA was provided in the form of humanitarian assistance, decreasing from 20.0% in 2019, while 21.5% was allocated to peace, an increase from 16.8% in 2019. Eleven per cent went to conflict prevention, a subset of contributions to peace, representing an increase from 4.0% in 2019.

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

In 2020, social infrastructure and services was the largest focus of New Zealand’s bilateral ODA allocations. Investments in this area accounted for 43.3% of bilateral ODA commitments (USD 265.2 million), with a strong focus on education (USD 82.7 million), support to government and civil society (USD 81.8 million), and health and population policies (USD 67.0 million). ODA for economic infrastructure and services totalled USD 58.5 million, with a focus on transport and storage (USD 25.1 million). Bilateral humanitarian assistance amounted to USD 48.1 million (7.9% of bilateral ODA). Earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations focused primarily on social infrastructure and services (53%) and other macro sectors (27.0%) in 2020.

In 2020, New Zealand did not commit any bilateral ODA to the mobilisation of domestic resources in developing countries. New Zealand committed USD 100.6 million (19.8% of its bilateral allocable aid) to promote aid for trade and improve developing countries’ trade performance and integration into the world economy in 2020.

In 2020, New Zealand committed 54% of its screened bilateral allocable aid to gender equality and women’s empowerment, as either a principal or significant objective (up from 50.1% in 2019),3 compared with the 2020 DAC country average of 44.6%. This is equal to USD 274.5 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 1.6%, compared with the 2020 DAC country average of 4.8%. Interventions in economic infrastructure, production and health focus less on gender than education (95.6%) and population and reproductive health (100%). New Zealand screens all activities against the DAC gender equality policy marker (100% in 2020). 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, New Zealand committed 37.0% of its total bilateral allocable aid (USD 187.8 million) in support of the environment and the Rio Conventions (the DAC country average was 38.8%), up from 33.5% in 2019. Twelve per cent of screened bilateral allocable aid in 2020 focused on environmental issues as a principal objective, compared with the DAC country average of 10.8%. Twenty-nine per cent of total bilateral allocable aid (USD 146.1 million) focused on climate change overall, up from 23.4% in 2019 (the DAC country average was 34%). New Zealand had a greater focus on adaptation (26%) than on mitigation (12.6%) in 2020. 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 37.8 million in support of the conservation and sustainable use of the ocean in 2020, 51.8% more than in 2019. The 2020 value is equivalent to 7.4% 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.

New Zealand provides resource flows to developing countries beyond ODA.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is responsible for the majority of New Zealand’s ODA (96.9%), 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. New Zealand’s Auditor-General recently undertook a 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 Features of New Zealand’s systems for quality and oversight.

Explore the Monitoring Dashboard of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation.

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

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

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT):

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:

Council for International Development (CID):

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

Member of the OECD Development Assistance Committee 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 2018 data as a more accurate way to count the donor effort in development loans. See the methodological notes for further details.

← 2. Other providers also provide non-grants, which include sovereign loans, multilateral loans, equity investment and loans to the private sector.

← 3. The use of the recommended minimum criteria for the marker by some members in recent years can result in lower levels of aid reported as being focused on gender equality.

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