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Aid money wasted on countries spending it on space programmes

download_(1).jpegThe Taxpayers’ Union is questioning why NZ Aid money, meant to help the world’s poorest, is being used to support countries and governments with their own space programs. The figures (see below) show that since 2010 more than $214 million of taxpayer money has been given to countries rich enough to fund their own space ambitions.

If a foreign government has enough cash to invest in ambitious space programmes, it should not expect to be receiving cash from New Zealand taxpayer which is earmarked for helping the world’s poorest.

Key findings

Total amount of NZ Aid money (since 2010) given to countries with government space programmes: $214,111,149


  • Received $88,753,539 in NZ Aid since 2010.
  • According to the World Bank’s open budget, over the same period Indonesia was able to spend $223 million (NZD equivalent) on LAPAN, Indonesia’s aeronautics and space program.
  • Last year Australia announced that it would cut its annual Aid of $627 million to Indonesia by 40% to $379 million.


  • Received $4,038,956 in NZ Aid since 2010.
  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has developed multiple Lunar and Mars bound missions in that time.
  • This year alone ISRO will receive $1.2 billion (U.S) from the Indian government.


  • Launched its fifth satellite into orbit last year and announced plans to send an astronaut into space by 2030.
  • Kiwi taxpayers have funded $647,053 of Aid to Nigeria since 2010.

Like any spending of taxpayer money, aid funding should be directed to where it is most needed. These figures show MFAT aren’t ensuring that Official Development Assistance is being allocated to those most in need. We should follow Australia’s lead and be redirecting Aid money away from Indonesia and India, and towards those in the Pacific with a much greater need.

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