Associate Health Minister Jenny Salesa should be asking tough questions of her officials about how a charity ended up sitting on $2.7 million intended for smoke-free initiatives, National’s Community and Voluntary Sector spokesperson Alfred Ngaro says.

“While Quit Group has finally acknowledged a process for fulfilling its responsibilities, a number of questions remain unanswered regarding its apparent stockpiling of funds and continual payments to board members since the charity ceased operating in 2015.

“Associate Health Minister Jenny Salesa needs to ensure this does not happen again.

“The Minister’s comments that she couldn’t force Quit Group to do anything with its money are not good enough. Of course she can tell them what to do, she’s the minister in charge.

“Quit Group broke a promise to New Zealanders and, more importantly, let down communities in need of help.

“Other smoke-free charities like ASH, which are doing a great job, could have benefited from the funds that Quit Group did nothing with.”

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