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PGP slush fund for National’s mates

An Auditor-General report into the Government’s Primary Growth Partnership programmes has found there is little to show for the $323 million taxpayer-funded investment, some of which went to National’s mates, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says.

“The report says the Government rushed into establishing the programme against official advice after it dismantled Labour’s Fast Forward Fund. The Ministry of Primary Industries was understaffed to deliver the programme and unable to clearly set the funding criteria.

“A large number of proposals were approved without any idea of whether they would provide additional value over business as usual.

“Sanford Fisheries – owned by National Party President Peter Goodfellow – received generous funding as did ANZCO, a company run by newly knighted Sir Graeme Harrison, a National party acolyte.

“The Office of the Auditor-General investigated six of the 18 programmes and found the Ministry can’t yet show what PGP as a whole as achieved.

“Money was allocated to the dairy industry without a sound business case or meaningful milestones.

“The OAG found ‘it is too soon to observe any economic benefits’ of the six programmes it reviewed although two programmes have been completed and most others are over halfway through their term.

“At a time when taxpayers and public servants are being forced to cut-back and tighten their belts, this report exposes that National’s corporate welfare for its mates is alive and well,” Damien O’Connor says.