Murray McCully's time as New Zealand's foreign minister is at an end. On 1 May he'll be replaced by Gerry Brownlee. It's hard to know what Mr. Brownlee will mean for New Zealand's approach to foreign aid, but it's easy to assess Mr. McCully's legacy. He brought change, and he claims to have brought development when before there was only pseudo-expertise and waste. But the changes he made were either unneeded or harmful, and the development achievements he claims either haven't occurred or can't be attributed to him.
McCully will be remembered for reintegrating New Zealand's semi-autonomous aid agency into the foreign ministry for no good reason. But the smaller injuries he inflicted on New Zealand aid were every bit as important. He took a well-functioning humanitarian emergency fund for NGOs and replaced it with one that was only able to get money out the door when stories of its dysfunction made it into the media. He killed off a similarly efficient fund for non-emergency NGO work. McCully's botched humanitarian emergency fund was eventually repaired. But, as the latest OECD review pointed out, New Zealand still wants for an effective general NGO funding tool.