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Audited accounts a must for public hand-outs

Tuesday, 19 October, 2004

Copeland: Audited accounts a must for public hand-outs

The Government is dishing out millions of dollars of public money to organisations without audited accounts, and the public is picking up the tab each time those funds are misused and misappropriated, United Future's Gordon Copeland said today.

In tackling Finance Minister Michael Cullen in Parliament today, he asked why concerns over the practice he raised over 18 months ago, and which were acknowledged by the Auditor-General, had not been acted upon.

"There is example after example of dodgy dealings with public monies - and there is a pretty straight-forward way to at the very least cut that right back, and it's not being done.

"There is no way anyone would be so slack with their own money, but we are supposed to accept that it is okay for the Government to play fast and loose with large sums of public money," Mr Copeland, United Future's finance spokesman, said.

He pointed out that Lotteries Trust Board grants can't be accessed without the recipients providing audited accounts and a detailed follow-up report accounting for their expenditure.

"It is called being fiscally prudent. It is also about having procedures that are best practice.

"Some might also call it basic common sense and giving a damn about public money," he said.

ENDS

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