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Mallard fast and loose with taxpayer money

Katherine Rich MP National Party Economic Development Spokeswoman

02 July 2006

Mallard fast and loose with taxpayer money

National Party Economic Development spokeswoman Katherine Rich says worrying comments by Trevor Mallard are more evidence that he is "utterly unsuited" to take over the finance role from Michael Cullen.

"Trev's already shown the public that he can't tell the difference between an asset and a liability, he took the fall for Helen Clark after making up numbers about the power crisis, and now he's making policy on the hoof."

Mrs Rich is referring to Mr Mallard's comments at a recent select committee and her follow-up parliamentary questions.

At the recent commerce select committee the Minister said: "I don't really care if the net funding of the company comes by way of a tax reduction against certain export development criteria or comes by way of a grant against the same criteria. It doesn't make any difference. Rich: It's quite a significant difference in policy, though, isn't it? Mallard: I don't see that there would be any..."

But answers to parliamentary questions show that neither the Ministry of Economic Development nor New Zealand Trade and Enterprise has undertaken any policy work regarding the use of tax-deductible expenditure by businesses as a replacement for government grants.

"In other words, Mr Mallard was floating an unresearched, unapproved idea with no clue as to the outcomes or the risk.

"Labour continues to show contempt for the taxpayers who are footing the bill for all of their harebrained schemes. Even more concerning is that if Mr Mallard gets the finance job all the signs are there that it will get worse," says Mrs Rich.

ENDS

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