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Anderton should resign over report

Gerry Brownlee National Party Deputy Leader

8 December 2004

Anderton should resign over report

National Party Deputy Leader Gerry Brownlee is calling for Economic Development Minister Jim Anderton's head after a damning report on the Trade and Enterprise business grants scheme.

"He should resign immediately.

"This is one of the most scathing reports of a government department I have seen in eight years in Parliament. It is Anderton's pet, he is responsible for it, and he should go.

"The scheme has finally been shown up for what it really is - a vehicle to put the minister in the limelight.

"Jim Anderton's Travelling Photo-ops Machine is nothing more than corporate welfare in drag, in which the Minister picks winners and then trumpets them as his own successes. Look at two of its more notable achievements: the Sovereign Yachts debacle and the decision to award The Warehouse a grant of $75,000.

"This country should not tolerate a minister who seems more concerned that people might say the scheme is 'a very bureaucratic system which is usless' than he is about accounting for where the money goes.

"We are talking about the public's money here - more than $24 million of it - that has been sprayed about in what seems to be a very cavalier way, and his only response is to be worried about people criticising the accounting systems.

"That is an extraordinary statement to make. When it comes to public money, the first and most important thing we should be doing is making sure we know where the money is going," Mr Brownlee says.

"This is a Government so sloshing around in cash that they think they can waste it."

ENDS

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