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Q+A Debate on our regions

Q+A Debate on our regions with Shane Jones, Paul Goldsmith and Corin Dann

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones defends Growth Fund loans to private firms

The Economic Development Minister Shane Jones is defending the decision to start extending loans from his billion dollar growth fund to private businesses.

Independent Economist Cameron Bagrie has questioned whether a $10 million loan from the fund to West Coast dairy co-op Westland Milk amounts to corporate welfare.

Shane Jones told Q+A tonight in a debate with National’s Paul Goldsmith that the banking sector has turned its back on large parts of New Zealand.

He says it’s a financial transaction entered into in accordance with Cabinet policy where there is a scope for co-investment.

Mr Jones says public private partnerships are nothing new in infrastructure and all he has done is simply extended the idea to private firms where there is potential for growth in areas that have been neglected for a long time.

However National’s Economic Development Spokesperson Paul Goldsmith told Q+A that the move is a very strange extension into ordinary business practices.

Mr Goldsmith says the loan is an example of the confusion in the Government’s Growth Fund. He says the number one development issue on the West Coast is the ability to mine on 85 percent of land that the Government wants to stop.

He says 4000 people on the West Coast marched over the issue of a ban on mining on some DOC land and offering a loan to Dairy company isn’t going to address that.

Please the full interview here.

Q+A, 9:30pm Sundays on TVNZ 1 and one hour later on TVNZ 1 + 1.

Streamed live at www.tvnz.co.nz

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