Jacinda Ardern faces questions over NZ First funding controversy

Author
Newstalk ZB / NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 19 Nov 2019, 9:25AM

Jacinda Ardern faces questions over NZ First funding controversy

Author
Newstalk ZB / NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 19 Nov 2019, 9:25AM

The Prime Minister is live in the NewstalkZB studio with Mike Hosking to face fresh questions over controversy about an NZ First-linked forestry company applying for Crown funding.

Yesterday it was revealed that a forestry company, with strong links to New Zealand First, applied for close to $100 million in Government funding under the One Billion Trees programme.

That programme is overseen Shane Jones as Forestry Minister.

But the company, NZ Future Forest Products Ltd, was denied funding by officials.

The company has directors including Peters' lawyer – and NZ First judicial officer – Brian Henry and his son, David Henry.

Peters' partner, Jan Trotman, is also a director – but, according to RNZ, she was only appointed to the position a few days after the funding bid was rejected.

Speaking to reporters yesterday afternoon, Peters dismissed any concerns and said the process was followed "meticulously".

"My conflict of interest was declared in advance ... my partner was not even part of the business when the application was made or when it was finalised."

Ardern agreed and said the bid had gone through a "rigorous process".

The Prime Minister told Mike Hosking it's a matter for Winston Peters' party to answer to.

She says the Electoral Commission is in charge of determining potential breaches of the law.