State sector leaders focus on international development

On April 4, International Development Deputy Secretary Amanda Ellis hosted a meeting of State sector CEOs, aimed at promoting opportunities for wider state sector engagement in New Zealand’s international development effort.

Improving governance and the delivery of state services in developing countries is critical to achieving the New Zealand Aid Programme’s sustainable economic development mandate. New Zealand’s state sector is internationally recognised for its ability to reform and deliver services to its citizens, and we want to share this expertise with our development partners.

New Zealand ranks third in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business survey and tops the Transparency International anti-corruption index.

The Chief Executive of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Maarten Wevers, opened the meeting by stressing that partnerships are vital to the delivery of New Zealand’s aid and development effort.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade can’t deliver the New Zealand Aid Programme all on its own. It needs to work with the wider state sector, the private sector and non-government organisations,” Mr Wevers said.

This sentiment was echoed in presentations by NZ Customs, the Ministry of Fisheries and the Department of Labour, agencies which are delivering projects that support development in the Pacific.

The Department of Labour is the Government agency responsible for the Recognised Seasonal Employer Scheme (RSE).

RSE is a win-win initiative that helps meet seasonal labour shortages in New Zealand and provides opportunities to poor communities in developing countries. It has a Pacific focus and gives workers the opportunity to come to New Zealand, remit money home, and gain skills. 

Some workers can also access training through the New Zealand Aid Programme funded ‘Vakameasina’ programme. The Department of Labour also works to build the labour-sending capacity of relevant government agencies in participating RSE countries.

International  Development Deputy Secretary, Amanda Ellis said that the state sector is an important partner for the New Zealand Aid Programme.

“Around $100 million of New Zealand Aid programme funding is delivered through the state sector agencies over a three to five year time frame. We want to further harness the wide expertise from across the public sector and enter into more long term strategic partnerships that deliver real outcomes for people in developing countries,” she said.

The meeting was also an opportunity to present proposals for a new integrated fund for state sector agencies, the private sector and non-government organisations.  The proposed fund seeks to draw on the comparative advantage and expertise of New Zealand organisations and encourage collaboration between sectors.

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