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Auditor-General Slams Anderton's Lolly Scramble

Published: Tue 7 Dec 2004 04:54 PM
Auditor-General Slams Anderton's Lolly Scramble
Tuesday 7 Dec 2004
Rodney Hide
Press Releases -- Economy
ACT Leader Rodney Hide today called for an end to the Government's lolly scramble approach to business development.
"What we need is tax cuts benefiting every business not hand-outs for the selected few.
"The Auditor-General's two reports on New Zealand Trade and Enterprise's Administration of Grant Programmes and the Administration of Visitor Investor Programme released today have slammed Jim Anderton's handout policies and have confirmed my worse fears: the programmes' administration is a disgrace.
"The Auditor-General found that NZTE has variable data collection and reporting, variable standards of documentation, an inconsistent approach to the assessment of risk and inconsistent approaches to monitoring. It is nothing less than alarmingly that that's how $47 million of taxpayers' money has been treated."
Mr Hide said the most damning criticism was of the Strategic Investment Fund, where the Auditor General found: criteria not met in some cases, unable to ascertain if criteria met in other cases; inadequate guidelines; poor documentation; minimal risk profiling of applicants; unsatisfactory assessment procedures; and poor monitoring and collecting of monitoring information.
"NZTE was unable to tell the Auditor General how many grant recipients were in each Enterprise Network. Important documents such as credit checks were found to be missing from files. The Auditor General couldn't determine whether cabinet criteria were met or even applied.
"The second report on the Visitor Investor Programme - the Government's red carpet programme for lavishing potential overseas investors with expensive hotel stays, golf, trout fishing and the like - was equally damning.
"Investment New Zealand was found to have no comprehensive and clearly established policies and procedures for administering the VIP. It is the slushiest of slush funds.
"Heads should roll for such appalling administration of taxpayers' money. But more importantly every business in the country should be helped by tax cuts rather than a dopey lolly scramble where only a few get to benefit," said Mr Hide.
ENDS
For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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