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Karori Sanctuary: vital criteria not available

Mark Blumsky National Party MP

21 June 2006

Karori Sanctuary: vital criteria not publicly available

National MP Mark Blumsky says Karori Wildlife Sanctuary's application for funding failed because vital criteria information was not made available.

"On 15 June, Minister of Internal Affairs Rick Barker told Parliament that an $8 million interest free loan from Wellington City Council to the Sanctuary was not an issue affecting its application for funding from the Significant Community Based Projects Fund," says Mr Blumsky.

"Yet his department told the Sanctuary and Wellington City Council officials on 8 June that the loan was the 'major criterion' on which their application was declined.

"Who is telling the truth? And why is the Minister of Internal Affairs making statements that totally contradict what his officials are saying?

"Labour cannot justify giving away $32 million of taxpayers' money based on criteria that are not publicly available to applicants or taxpayers.

"The loan debacle is just one of a number of criteria that were adopted seemingly after the application was submitted. Nowhere were those criteria communicated to applicants, and that's not good enough.

"The Minister must review the decision, otherwise this whole exercise degenerates into a farce.

"The Minister also needs to give reassurance to Wellingtonians that when Cabinet makes these funding decisions they aren't pursuing an anti-Wellington bias. We note that another major Wellington project also missed out on funding," says Mr Blumsky.

ENDS


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