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APEC Junket Costs Taxpayers $65,000

The Green Party has accused the Government of wasting $65,000 of taxpayers' money to host 23 journalists.

Green Party Co-Leader Rod Donald today called it "a one-eyed junket". Twenty-three journalists and one photographer were hosted by the APEC Task Force and several government departments on a one-week-long visit in July.

The journalists came from Japan, Hong Kong, Brunei, Philippines, Australia, Chinese Taipei, China, Korea, Chile, Britain, Russia, Vietnam, USA, Papua New Guinea, Mexico, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia.

The information was supplied to Mr Donald in a written answer from the Minister of Foreign Affairs (Question for Written Answer 6329).

"According to the list of people and organisations these journalists met with, they would have gained a very sanitised view of the New Zealand experiment," Mr Donald said.

"If taxpayers' money is being used to fund these PR junkets then at the very least overseas journalists should have the chance to learn about the downside of free trade.

"They didn't meet with a single redundant car plant or clothing worker, they didn't visit a food bank, and they certainly weren't given the chance to hear the evidence against APEC from organisations which challenge its claimed benefits to New Zealand.

"Instead, they largely met with organisations and enterprises which are beneficiaries of the New Right economic experiment," he said.

Written answer available from Rod Donald.


ENDS

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