25 Mar 2013

Joyce defends giving regional money to expat group

11:15 am on 25 March 2013

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce says giving money from a regional economic growth fund to an expatriate networking organisation is appropriate.

New Zealand First is questioning why $900,000 from the fund, which is supposed to be for specific regional projects, has gone to Kiwi Expatriates Abroad, or Kea.

Kea says its purpose is to encourage expatriates to contribute more to New Zealand and connect them with other expats.

Mr Joyce says there's nothing untoward about Kea getting funding. He says it helps stimulate economic activity around New Zealand, and the regions already receive a huge amount of financial assistance from the Government.

Growth fund money has also gone to Organics Aotearoa, the West Coast Memorial Centre and Canterbury Business Recovery.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters, says while Kea's a worthy organisation, it shouldn't be getting money intended for the regions.