Sharechat Logo

"Helpful" if Shane Jones had left funding meeting, but no harm done

Tuesday 12th March 2019

Text too small?

It would have been "helpful" if the minister responsible for the Provincial Growth Fund, Shane Jones, had not been in the room when a decision was made to fund a Far North District Council Maori tourism initiative with a $4.6 million PGF loan, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says.

But while Jones had not managed "perceptions" of a conflict of interest well in a final meeting on the proposal, Ardern insisted that he had taken all appropriate steps to inform the Cabinet Office and to ensure that another minister - in this case, Finance Minister Grant Robertson - had decision-making authority rather than himself.

"It would have helped for him not to be in the room" at the time other Cabinet colleagues on the PGF funding decision sub-committee made a call on the Manea Footprints of Kupe project, Ardern said under questioning at her post-Cabinet press conference. She had spoken to Jones about the "perception issue" created by his providing advice on the project to Cabinet colleagues at the decision-making meeting.

Jones declared a conflict of interest when the PGF received a funding application in November 2017, ensuring that any PGF funding decisions be made by other ministers. He had lobbied for the project in 2014 as a Labour MP and knew a prime mover in the project who had since died.

Jones was also reportedly being promoted as a possible chairman for the entity that would run the new enterprise, although Jones claimed that was just a hope, not a prospect.

"After all, everyone wants Sonny Bill in their team," he told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report. "That doesn't mean I was the chairman or director. It means I was at a random meeting five years ago."

Jones claimed to RNZ that Stuff business journalist Hamish Rutherford was only aware of the potential for a conflict because he had accepted Jones's hospitality and stayed at his home in Northland while reporting issues in the Far North.

(BusinessDesk)

  General Finance Advertising    

Comments from our readers

No comments yet

Add your comment:
Your name:
Your email:
Not displayed to the public
Comment:
Comments to Sharechat go through an approval process. Comments which are defamatory, abusive or in some way deemed inappropriate will not be approved. It is allowable to use some form of non-de-plume for your name, however we recommend real email addresses are used. Comments from free email addresses such as Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc may not be approved.

Related News:

RBNZ review seeks wider input on quantitative easing, bank supervision
NZ dollar rises on strong domestic exports, Trump comments on Powell
Goldsmith replaces Adams as Nat's shadow finance minister
Gold Report 25th June 2019
OECD joins KiwiBuild critics as 'reset' looms
Global trade crisis 'bad news' for open economies like NZ - OECD
Milk testing firm GEA Milfos to pay $925k for fixing prices
Dairy sales push May exports to record high
Pay rises lift employment confidence; outlook weak
Sky TV drops 'puck' deployment

IRG See IRG research reports