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Anderton thumbs his nose at Auditor General

Anderton thumbs his nose at Auditor General

Wednesday 5 Jan 2005

Rodney Hide - Press Releases - Other

The highly controversial $1.5 million government grant to multi-national EDS (Electronic Data Services) not only went against the advice of Ministry of Economic Development officials, Jim Anderton went on to ignore a ruling by the Office of the Auditor General, ACT Leader Rodney Hide has today revealed.

Last month Mr Hide asked Mr Anderton to further explain his concession that the EDS grant had not met Cabinet criteria. He asked the Minister why this was and what action had the Minister taken in response.

Mr Anderton responded that the Auditor General found the grant had breached the criteria for the Strategic Investment Fund which permitted a grant of a maximum of $1 million per annum up to a maximum of $5 million over five years.

"Information now released shows Mr Anderton ignored this upper limit and instead delivered a lump sum $1.5 million to EDS on a plate. He now says despite the Auditor General's advice he and his Cabinet colleagues didn't believe that it was a breach of the criteria, and therefore do not intend to take any action to recover the funding.

"That is outrageous. I can't believe the arrogance of Jim Anderton. First he ignored Ministry of Economic Development officials who believed the benefits did not justify the funding and wrote `Do not approve this grant to EDS' . Now, we have Jim Anderton thumbing his nose at the Auditor General's office.

"This grant was ill-advised and broke the rules. Mr Anderton's `jobs machine' and corporate welfare has lost all credibility. The Minister is really only interested in handing out big cheques in exchange for photo opportunities. Rather than sprinkling taxpayer money around like fairy dust, he'd be better to advocate for tax cuts, which would make a real economic difference.

"If Mr Anderton wants to start the New Year off on the front foot, he needs to stop funding the rich and start handing back some money to hardworking New Zealanders," said Mr Hide.

Late last year the ACT Leader criticised New Zealand Trade and Enterprise grants to Hubbard Foods of nearly $100,000.


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