29 May 2010

NZ's Pacific Island Affairs Minister stands by private company contract

11:23 am on 29 May 2010

The chief executive of the company that was given more than three million US dollars by the New Zealand government says it took more than two years to prepare its submission.

JR Pereira of the Auckland-based Pacific Economic Development Agency says the funding will provide training for young Pacific people, not just Samoans.

Some in the community claim the lack of consultation before the contract was awarded shows a bias to Samoan New Zealanders.

But Mr Pereira says anyone, including Pacific EDA, has the opportunity to engage with the government of the day, regardless of who is in power.

The Pacific Island Affairs Minister, Georgina Te Heuheu, is standing by PEDA.

"This is not about mates rates. This is about an organisation which is offering a certain kaupapa, which appeals to us because we're concerned about the progress or lack of progress of pacific peoples in Auckland. The agreement which we draw up won't be anything to do with mates rates - it'll be to do with clear objectives, clear reporting and very clear monitoring arrangements."

The Pacific Islands Affairs Minister, Georgina Te Heuheu.