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ACT Seeks Answers Over Irresponsible Spending

ACT Seeks Answers Over Irresponsible Spending

Friday 25 Jun 2004

Dr Muriel Newman

Press Releases - Other

ACT New Zealand Whangarei-based MP and Deputy Leader Dr Muriel Newman today lodged a written Parliamentary Question to Education Minister Trevor Mallard in relation to the Manse street bus company controversy.

"I am concerned that the attitude of this Government is to spend taxpayers' money first, and find out whether it is wise spending second," Dr Newman said.

"In this case, Labour has spent $1.7 million purchasing properties for the building of a bus bay, even though there is no certainty that resource consents will be obtained. Surely a wise government would have sought consents before buying the property.

"Mr Mallard appears confused over this issue. On June 14 2004, the `Northern Advocate' reported that the Minister claimed:

`You cannot apply for resource consent for a property you don't own. If the bus bay doesn't get consent the properties will be sold again.'

"This is clearly incorrect, as applying for resource consents for properties that are not owned but under a conditional agreement is a common practice used to obtain permission for a future activity without taking on the financial burden and risk of ownership.

"I have today lodged a written Parliamentary Question with the Minister to challenge his public statement, which has the hallmark of an excuse to justify irresponsible spending. The question asks:

`Does the Minister stand by his statement reported in the Northern Advocate of June 14 2004 that, in relation to the spending of $1.7million to purchase properties for the building of a bus bay to serve Whangarei Girls' and Boys' High Schools in spite of there being no guarantee of a consent being granted, that "you cannot apply for consent for a property you don't own?'

"I will report back on the answer I receive," Dr Newman said.

ENDS

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