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NBR Has Zero Credibility

A claim by this morning's National Business Review that 'trusts could be plundered to pay for People's Bank' is garbage.

The Government has specifically and repeatedly ruled out any suggestion of taking over the assets of community trusts.

The Government does not need funding from community trusts to establish a Kiwi Bank. There has never been a proposal to seek funding for the kiwi bank from community trusts. Until it was speculated on in an NBR headline, no one had ever heard of the idea.

The Public Audit Bill, which is currently before Select Committee, proposes making trusts subject to audit by the Auditor-General. Trusts control $3.7 billion of community assets for which there ought to be accountabilty and scrutiny.

The provision in the Bill making the trusts subject to audit was proposed by Max Bradford at Select Committee. This is the same Max Bradford who now claims 'it does appear Mr Anderton is out to get the community trusts' assets, or at least their income streams.'

The Government is not out to get their assets or income. It agrees with Mr Bradford's former position that the trusts should be audited. It is absurd to claim an audit means the Government is trying to take over the use of the trusts' funds.

The status of trusts is not being reviewed. Some trusts have told the the Minister for Economic Development that they want to become involved in regional development, but are not sure if they are able. At their request, the Ministry of Economic Development has commissioned two discussion papers on how trusts can and do support regional development. It is also planning a forum for trusts next year to share ideas.

The brief for this disucssion was supplied to news media, including the National Business Review, yesterday. It states: "There is no question of the Government seeking to direct any of those bodies to make funds available."

Ends

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