March 13, 2019
Crown help critical for Kupe path
Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says his excess of probity over a Hokianga tourism project shouldn't be allowed to stop much needed initiatives for the north.
Mr Jones is under fire from ACT's David Seymour after it emerged he was at a meeting where other ministers approved the Manea Footsteps of Kupe cultural centre at Opononi getting $4.6 million from the provincial growth fund.
Mr Jones says he declared a conflict because he discussed the idea five years ago with the late Ngāpuhi leader Whetu Naera, but he had no further involvement with the proposal, which was put up by the Far North District Council.
He has never been an employee or office holder on the project.
"I think we should see the Kupe Manea kaupapa as an overdue addition to tourism in the north which was never going to happen by relying exclusively on the private sector and if we are going to turn around the fortunes of some of the more benighted areas in the north the crown has to act and the crown in this case has acted," Mr Jones says.
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