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Taxpayers shell out nearly $500,000 on hui

Nick Smith National Environment Spokesperson

16 September 2003

Taxpayers shell out nearly $500,000 on hui

The National Party has today released figures showing the Government is spending nearly $500,000 on hui for its foreshore and seabed plan.

"This half-a-million dollars is further feeding the grievance gravy train and would not have been necessary if the Government had stuck to its commitment of Crown ownership," says National's Environment spokesperson, Nick Smith.

Dr Smith says the expenditure is "taxpayer-funded sophistry because the proposals are so woolly, nobody understands what is meant.

"After just a handful of the 11 hui, Helen Clark's resolve is melting away.

"First she promised legislation to clarify Crown ownership of our foreshore and seabed, but since then she's been retreating further and further up the beach.

"Answers to parliamentary questions show the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet has been allocated $369,314 for the overall consultation process.

"Approximately $225,000 is being spent to hold the hui (11 hui at average cost of $20,000 per hui) and $25,000 has been set aside for processing and analysing the submissions.

"Te Puni Kokiri has been given a further $116,000 for its involvement. $76,000 of that is for support, travel and accommodation related to the eleven hui," says Dr Smith.

"This expenditure is all about solving Labour's political problems, rather than developing a proper legal framework for administering our thousands of kilometres of coast and millions of hectares of sea.

"It speaks volumes that Labour is spending half a million dollars on consultation with iwi, yet no amount has been set aside for consultation with the remaining 85% of New Zealanders.

"New Zealand needs 'more doey and less hui' on this issue. National would legislate for continued public ownership in the name of the Crown," says Dr Smith.


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