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Copeland slams $3.6m forestry 'donation'

Thursday, 5 August 2004

Copeland slams $3.6m forestry 'donation'

The recklessness of the Government's latest $3.6 million "donation" to the embattled Taitokerau Forest Ltd is best illustrated by the fact that commercial lenders wouldn't go near it with a barge pole, United Future revenue spokesman Gordon Copeland said today.

The company already owed the taxpayer $50 million, and under questioning from Mr Copeland, Finance Minister Michael Cullen revealed in Parliament that the Government has now stumped up a further $3.6 million.

"Every sign around this latest deal looks bad. The banks won't touch it, and the Government is throwing more and more public money into a huge hole," Mr Copeland said.

"The Government is effectively making itself the banker of last resort to a mismanaged company.

"Since the $53.6 million secured by mortgage, the Government should exercise its rights, sack the board and management and take the show over," he said.


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