A review’s finding that MBIE officials failed to do basic background checks on the people behind the proposed waste-to-energy scheme is exactly what we’d expect from Mr Jones’ $3 billion slush fund, National’s Regional Development Spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.

“It reflects badly on the officials concerned, but worse on the Government which has put enormous pressure on the Ministry,” Mr Goldsmith says.

“Mr Jones has been so determined to shovel money out the door as quickly as possible, basic due diligence on who is receiving the public money wasn’t carried out.

“And the Minister shamelessly admitted the reason for the rush in a speech in Rotorua recently – there’s only 29 months to the next election.

“This is money earned by the people of New Zealand and paid over to the Government in their taxes. We all have the right to expect that care will be taken in how it is spent.

“The Prime Minister should read the riot act to Mr Jones about his Provincial Growth Fund. Taxpayers’ money is not there for him to hand over to whomever he thinks.

“She should also take responsibility for the style of her Government which is emerging.

“The Prime Minister promised a new style of politics, of openness and transparency, and yet here we have her Ministers and officials sneaking out bad news at 4pm on a Friday while she’s overseas."

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