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Government Bails Waitangi Marae Out of Debt

3 December 2000. Media Statement

Government Bails Waitangi Marae Out of Project Debt

Minister of Internal Affairs Hon. George Hawkins said the Government has had to bail Waitangi Marae out of debt after a facilities upgrade project, driven by the previous National government, went over-budget.

National leader Jenny Shipley spearheaded the project in 1999, while she was Prime Minister.

"Mrs Shipley encouraged the Waitangi Marae to upgrade its ablution block. She arranged for the Department of Internal Affairs to gather together grants – using Lottery Board money – to bankroll the project," George Hawkins said.

Total funding for the Marae renovation project was provided from:
a) Auckland Savings Bank Grant (incl. GST) $102,000
b) Te Puni Kökiri (incl. GST) $15,000
c) Department of Internal Affairs (incl. GST) $ 50,000
d) Lottery Marae Heritage and Facilities (excl. GST) $310,060
e) Sub total $477,060
f) GST on Lottery Marae Heritage and Facilities $38,758
g) Total Project Funds (incl. GST) $515,818

"In other words: $65,000 was taxpayers money (paid by the Crown), $310,000
was from Lottery Grants funds, and $102,000 was from a private charitable
trust," George Hawkins said.

"This whole mess occurred because Jenny Shipley’s government failed to ensure the project was well managed. Jenny Shipley and her government arranged for the money to pour into the Marae and failed to make sure it had the financial and project management skills to complete the upgrade.

"The Marae subsequently ran into massive debt," George Hawkins said.

To meet the rebuilding project debts, the Labour/Alliance Government has had to slash the funding available for Waitangi Day 2001 commemorations from $324,000 to $204,000.

"The Crown is not legally responsible for the debts, but the Government realises it has a responsibility for the outcome of a rebuilding project at a site of such national importance," George Hawkins said.

"It is quite wrong for Waitangi trustees to claim the National Marae is being snubbed when the government has just bailed out its upgrade project to the tune of $170,000.

"The government has taken a fiscally responsible decision which has had implications for the scope of activities planned in 2001," George Hawkins said.

ENDS

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