17 Jun 2010

CEO of NZ Ministry of Pacific Affairs says community could lose over PEDA

1:23 pm on 17 June 2010

The chief executive of New Zealand's Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs says it would be unfortunate if the decision to allocate almost three and half million US dollars to a private company is overturned.

The Auckland-based Pacific Economic Development Agency was awarded the money in last month's budget.

But it's now emerged PEDA won the contract despite the Ministry warning the Minister, Georgina te Heuheu, the agency's unproven record meant it was a significant risk.

The Ministry's chief executive, Colin Tukuitonga, says he's aware the decision is very unpopular but says the community could end up losing the money altogether.

"It is quite possible that if we are not mature and get beyond this the government may well wish to not spend the money. In fact, I'm under very clear instructions that unless I'm confident that we are able to purchase the right things from the people, there is no question that the option of returning money to government is there. And I think that would be a sad day for us all."

Dr Colin Tukuitonga.

The Labour Party says it may ask the Auditor-General to investigate how PEDA came to win the contract.