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Dairy loan done on a handshake, details to follow

It beggars belief that the Government has dispensed a $9.9 million low-interest loan to a dairy company without having finalised the terms, National’s Economic and Regional Development spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.

“The Minister in charge of the Provincial Growth Fund couldn’t tell the House what terms he had in mind when he undercut commercial lenders to provide debt funding for a new processing plant.

“I wouldn’t blame any business like Westland Milk for accepting a cheap loan from a secure lender.

“But that’s no excuse for sloppy process when it comes to taxpayer money. Shane Jones said the full terms of the loan were “yet to be settled” but that it would be for a longer term than its existing private sector bank lenders would offer.

“That would be of interest to Westland’s rivals, particularly for milk pools in Canterbury, and underlines why such proposals need rigorous scrutiny. The fact that seedlings were shredded in Northland shows Mr Jones is light on details and that burns taxpayer money.

“This Government has bankrolled church renovations in Taranaki and a resort spa on the West Coast - regions where other policies have potential to damage economic growth on a larger scale.

“National believes in a sensible economic plan that encourages businesses to grow. Delivering new infrastructure, supporting investment, driving exports and helping grow skills – that’s how opportunities are created.”

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