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Labour plays fast and loose with taxpayer money

Nathan Guy MP
National Party Associate Agriculture Spokesman

14 November 2007

Labour plays fast and loose with taxpayer money

Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton needs to explain why valuable contracts at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry are not being tendered on the open market, says National’s Associate Agriculture spokesman, Nathan Guy.

“MAF’s 2006/07 financial review reveals that there is no formal unit within the Ministry that oversees contract monitoring. That was confirmed by MAF officials who were speaking at the Primary Production Select Committee.

“To make things worse, the Director-General of MAF, Murray Sherwin, acknowledged that MAF had not stuck to the policy of tendering for contracts worth over $50,000 on the open market.

“It appears there are some cosy consultant arrangements being conducted and the taxpayer deserves to know why these contracts were not put out to public tender.”

Mr Guy says a private consultant provided MAF with statistical services for the quota of butter fat – a contract worth $170,835 that wasn’t tendered.

Another contract worth $119,064 for ‘standard setting services’ was also not put out in the open market.

“MAF is overrun with staff that now number more than 1,700, but no one is tasked with monitoring how much is being spent on consultants and whether the taxpayer is getting value for money.

“This highlights Jim Anderton’s poor accountability of taxpayer money. Only yesterday it was revealed he has thrown $1 million at a primary production conference that is destined to be nothing but a Ministerial talkfest.”


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