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United welcomes stricter money rules for NGO’s

Media Statement
For immediate release
31 March 2005

United Future welcomes stricter money rules for NGO’s

United Future finance spokesperson Gordon Copeland today welcomed the news that the Auditor General will in future insist on stronger audit requirements where government funds are given to NGO’s.

He said “I first raised this matter with the Auditor General in 2003 and last year in Parliament.

“I warned then that probably hundreds of scandals such as that involving special reports by the Auditor General into the Pipi Foundation were just waiting to happen because the government was lax in the way in which it distributes taxpayers’ funds to a wide variety of non-governmental organisations.

“It gave me no pleasure to see my prophecy fulfilled when the row surrounding Te Wananga O Aotearoa broke this year with no less than $239 million of taxpayers’ funds involved.

“It has been clear for some time that taxpayer funds must not be handed over to NGO’s willy-nilly. It should be a categorical requirement that government agencies first satisfy themselves that adequate governance and management controls are in place before a single cent of taxpayers’ money is handed over.

“In addition, on an ongoing basis, full and complete audits must be mandatory to ensure that the funds were actually applied in accordance with contractual arrangements.

“The tightening up now recommended to the government by the Auditor General should bring to an end the long litany of waste and scandalous misapplication of funds which have featured so frequently in the media during recent years.

“I am sure, given a choice, taxpayers would rather see the newspaper columns and the TV news focussing on something else. It will be a welcome change,” said Mr Copeland.


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