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Taxpayers foot the bill to train miners in China

Kate Wilkinson MP
National Party Labour & Industrial Relations Spokeswoman

15 November 2007

Taxpayers foot the bill to train miners in China

National Party Labour & Industrial Relations spokeswoman Kate Wilkinson says taxpayers will be surprised to learn that their money is being used to train coal miners in China.

Ms Wilkinson is referring to answers given at a select committee today, where the Labour Department confirmed it had given the Council of Trade Unions $84,711 for ‘Safety Training for Safety Representatives in Chinese Coal Mines’.

The funding was obtained from the Government's contestable Growth and Innovation Fund, through a bidding process.

Officials have described the Chinese coal mining subsidy as a ‘type of aid project’, said it ‘helps us utilise expertise that we already have’, and that they’d continue to consider any proposal for funding this sort of ‘international collaboration’.

Ms Wilkinson says Kiwi taxpayers will clearly be surprised to learn that the New Zealand Government is effectively subsidising the Chinese coal industry.

“How does that square with Labour’s position on carbon neutrality and greenhouse gases?”

Ms Wilkinson says Labour Minister Trevor Mallard needs to say whether he supports the continued Kiwi contribution to China’s coal industry.

“I’m quite certain New Zealanders would question whether this was a wise spend of their money. Aren’t there workplace safety issues in New Zealand that could do with taxpayer help?”

Ends

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