INDEPENDENT NEWS

Coddington in fantasyland

Published: Thu 14 Nov 2002 02:56 PM
Coddington in fantasyland
Act MP Deborah Coddington is living in a strange fantasy world where her attacks on the reputations of leading business people under cover of Parliamentary privilege make her "pro-business", says Associate Minister for Industry and Regional Development Pete Hodgson.
"Ms Coddington has been naming leading business people in the House as the beneficiaries of 'cronyism' in the allocation of business development grants. It is striking that she is not prepared to repeat these cheap smears outside the cover of Parliamentary privilege.
"In fact Industry New Zealand's processes for allocating business development funding are transparent and accountable, with the appropriate checks and balances to handle any conflicts of interest, real or perceived. It is simply bizarre that the Act Party, supposedly the party of business, wants to deny eligibility for assistance to any business people who are willing to contribute their time and ideas to the improvement of government policy.
"Ms Coddington's claim that grants go to 'those who are best at lobbying or cosying up to the Prime Minister' is particularly surreal given the fact that Industry New Zealand has funded one project involving Act MP Donna Awatere Huata and another involving Ms Huata's husband Wi Huata. If that isn't evidence of impartiality in the provision of assistance, I don't know what is.
"Ms Coddington's latest written questions to me concern remuneration paid to the members of the Growth and Innovation Advisory Board. Members of the board are paid a per diem of $600 for attending a monthly meeting and the equivalent of a day's work in preparation and follow-up. I have no hesitation in saying that the government is getting very good value for money from twelve busy and talented people. I will be very interested to see whether Ms Coddington proceeds to attack the reputations of board members, and if so whether she has the courage to do so outside the House."

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