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Minister squanders taxpayers' money


Paul Hutchison MP for Port Waikato

11 September 2002

Minister squanders taxpayers' money

The Corrections Minister is the latest in a line of Government ministers to fritter away taxpayers' funds in the cause of political correctness, says National MP Dr Paul Hutchison.

"Hundreds of thousands of dollars is being squandered on consultation and site investigation relating to the proposed South Auckland men's prison near Meremere.

"It is staggering to realise that Mark Gosche belongs to a Government which promised in 1999 that 'extravagance in the public sector will not be tolerated.'

"The Minister has confirmed that $545,000 has been spent so far on Iwi consultation relating to the proposed prison, but he seems oblivious to the fact that this money is being paid in advance. How many New Zealanders would like to be paid, in advance, for cultural input and consultation for what equates to around two years' work?

"And to make it worse, Mr Gosche appears unconcerned that one of the consultants who allegedly received $100,000 of this money has turned out to be a convicted fraudster.

"Now more money is being wasted by the Corrections Minister who, having discovered that a proposed site bought for the prison is unsuitable, wants to spend millions more dollars on earthworks to rectify the problem.

"It flies completely in the face of commonsense, when last year the Minister was offered an alternative site near Huntly which that community said would offer "employment and economic benefits that Huntly currently needs."

"I challenge Mr Gosche to listen to the community and take up the offer," says Dr Hutchison.

Ends

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