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Regional Development Fund Slashed And Squandered

Press Release – New Zealand First Party

A Government fund intended for regional specific projects to grow the economy has instead been used to fund the organisation Kiwi Expatriates Abroad (KEA), says New Zealand First.
24 March 2013
Regional Development Fund Slashed And Squandered

A Government fund intended for regional specific projects to grow the economy has instead been used to fund the organisation Kiwi Expatriates Abroad (KEA), says New Zealand First.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce said in response to written questions from New Zealand First that KEA had in the past two financial years received $900,000 funding from the Regional Development and Industry (RDI) Fund.

The RDI Fund itself was slashed by the Government from $3.9 million in 2011/12 to just $200,000 in the current financial year.

Rt Hon Winston Peters says while KEA is a worthy organisation it should not qualify for grants through the RDI Fund.

“Cutting the RDI Fund to just $200,000 a year is a disgrace and yet more evidence that the Government is ignoring the very real plight of regional New Zealand.

“But to then give what little is left to an organisation focused on New Zealanders living abroad, instead of funding regional-based projects, is little short of criminal.”

Mr Peters says over the past two years only three entities received RDI funding.

“Organics Aotearoa received $37,599, the West Coast Memorial Centre $3.5 million, and Canterbury Business Recovery $55,708.

“That is the extent of the Government’s regional economic stimulus from this fund.

“No wonder small town New Zealand is slowly shutting up shop and joining the exodus to Australia,” says Mr Peters.

ENDS

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