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National wins more scrutiny of Greens' funding

Gerry Brownlee MP - National Party Deputy Leader

4 April 2006

National wins more scrutiny of Greens' funding

National Party Deputy Leader Gerry Brownlee says the Government-funded advisors working for the Greens will come under far tighter scrutiny as a result of an inquiry by the Auditor-General.

"The Auditor-General has given a worrying assessment of the staff funding arrangement between the Prime Minister and the Greens.

"As a result, the Department of Internal Affairs has been forced to rewrite job descriptions, warn of the potential for conflicts of interest, and support monthly monitoring of 'boundary issues'.

"The report also makes it clear that these staff are not to be drawn into Green Party parliamentary business and that they are effectively, working for Ministers, or more specifically, the Prime Minister.

"The report goes further and says that because they're working out of the Green Party Offices the '3 individuals may be drawn into activities outside the scope of the Vote: Ministerial Services appropriations'.

'There is a high risk of the 'blurring' of resources which needs to be appropriately managed. In our view, splitting the Government relationship manager's time on a 70:30 basis may not be practicable'.

Included in the report's conclusions is a warning that 'there is still some risk that some activities performed within these roles may fall outside the scope of the Vote Ministerial Services appropriation'.

Mr Brownlee is calling on the Auditor-General to maintain a close watch over the monthly meetings given the concerns that have been highlighted.

"This highly critical report shows just how far Helen Clark is prepared to push the boundaries in terms of taxpayer funding for parliamentary business. It suggests a fast and loose approach to the rules.

"The fact that the Auditor-General is demanding on-going scrutiny of these positions vindicates National's pursuit of further clarification," says Mr Brownlee.

ENDS


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