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Helen Clark's Visit is Not So Smart

Helen Clark's Visit is Not So Smart

Helen Clark's "Smart Growth Day" visit to EDS - the huge company receiving $1.5m of public money - is an embarrassing backfire, ACT Finance Spokesman Rodney Hide said today.

"I have received papers under the Official Information Act that reveal even the Ministry of Economic Development - which has wasted taxpayer money on some of the dopiest schemes since Think Big - recommended no taxpayer money be spent on EDS.

On February 19, the Ministry of Economic Development warned Jim Anderton, Michael Cullen and Paul Swain:

"MED does not consider that this proposal contains a high enough level of spillover benefits to justify funding. The approval of this grant would set a precedent in that it would be the highest grant awarded to date and would be paid in cash up-front.

"Both Treasury and MED warned that this funding was not justified. They pointed out that EDS had other options, such as taking on debt, which the company had not explored.

"The Ministry told Investment New Zealand - the only Governmental organisation pushing for the cash injection - that "the spillover would have to be more than advertising of NZ's capabilities to justify the dollar for dollar subsidisation the restructuring of a company whose revenues are 40% the size of NZ's GDP".

"The OIA papers reveal that in January EDS New Zealand Managing Director Rick Ellis "seem[ed] to feel that Anderton gave him the sense that he had $5 Million available and was very supportive".

"Instead of sprinkling taxpayer money around like fairy dust, Government would be better off to give tax relief to everyone. Now that would be smart," Mr Hide said.

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