New Zealand should not have given aid money to an agriculture initiative in Africa because of an association with Hillary Clinton, the Taxpayers' Union says.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Mfat), through the NZ Aid Programme, has given $7.7 million to a project run by the Clinton Health Access Initiative, and designed to strengthen agricultural production in Rwanda and Ethiopia and reduce childhood malnutrition.

Annual support of $2.5m and $3m is budgeted if results are favourable - and the programme is going well so far, Mfat says.

The Clinton Health Access Initiative has been a separate organisation from the Clinton Foundation since 2010.


However, Jordan Williams, executive director of the Taxpayers' Union, said recent controversy over the Clinton Foundation meant the aid money was not a good look and "risks even more damage to New Zealand's ability to wield any influence in the US".

"This money comes from the NZ Aid budget [and] should be going to programmes which are the most effective at helping the world's poor - not sidetracked into political objectives."

Former president Bill Clinton established the Clinton Foundation in 2001 and it was at the centre of controversy during the recent US presidential campaign over a potential conflict of interest between it and the state department, where Hillary Clinton was secretary from 2009 to 2013.

President-elect Donald Trump and other critics of Clinton called for action over "pay for play" allegations.

AP published an investigation showing more than half of people outside the government who met Clinton while she was secretary of state gave money to the Clinton Foundation.

WikiLeaks released emails during the campaign that put focus on the foundation's activities.

US intelligence agencies have since identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others.