Kerre McIvor: Post-Covid slush fund a worrying sign for the future

Author
Kerre McIvor,
Publish Date
Wed, 2 Sep 2020, 8:46PM
Jacinda Ardern, Grant Robertson and James Shaw. (Photo / File)

Kerre McIvor: Post-Covid slush fund a worrying sign for the future

Author
Kerre McIvor,
Publish Date
Wed, 2 Sep 2020, 8:46PM

Normally when somebody apologises, that's it, it's over. 

If you do it properly, there's an admission of guilt, acknowledgement of suffering, a promise to never do it again, and an explanation of the lessons learned. 

However, the apology from embattled Greens co leader James Shaw has done nothing to quell the outrage over his decision to hand over nearly $12 million dollars to an alternative learning campus in Taranaki. 

He is reported to have held up the allocation of $3 billion dollars worth of shovel ready projects unless The Green School was given an 11.7 million dollar grant.  Newshub has obtained an email that went to Government ministers and the Treasury from Shaw's office and it included a stark ultimatum.  

In his midday mea culpa yesterday, Shaw said the best outcome might be for the school to treat the grant as a loan between the crown and the school's private owners but that will be entirely up to the school's owners if they choose to do that. 

There is a grave risk this could spell the end of the Greens, given the backlash from Green Party members who are incredulous that Shaw would grant such an enormous sum of money to a private school when the party's own education policy is against the funding of private schools. 

Chloe Swarbrick needs to win Auckland Central or the party needs to poll above five per cent for the Greens to get back into Parliament.  As Newsroom's Sam Sachdeva puts it, the whole sorry saga confirms the stereotyping of Greens as chardonnay socialists whose talk about supporting the poor isn't backed up by action and as Morris dancing, science hating kooks. 

James Shaw has said he doesn't think this is a resignation level event. What do you think?  Is this a resignation level event?  Do you  have any confidence in the due diligence being done on the Covid-19 recovery shovel ready projects? 

Should the decision making be taken out of the hands of government ministers and given to an independent body capable of assessing the viability and appropriateness of the projects?  Is this just the way of the political future - huge slush funds of money being made available to ministers who can then use it to further their political interests - looking at you Shane Jones - or to be doled out to pet projects? 

If so, I don't like this vision of the future.  There doesn't seem to be any accountability around taxpayer money.