Corporate welfare should not be secret

Stuff reports:

More city councillors will be allowed to decide how Wellington’s $9.4 million economic fund is spent, but they won’t be able to tell ratepayers.

Councillors voted on Wednesday to increase the size of the panel that oversees its Wellington Economic Initiatives Development (WEID) Fund from four to nine members.

But they will be required sign a confidentiality agreement before they can join.

They are spending ratepayers money. There should be no secrecy around this. Sometimes there is a need for commercial confidentiality, if for example negotiating a supply agreement with competitors.

But this is giving away ratepayers money to businesses. If any business says “We’ll only take your money if you keep the amount secret”, then fine – don’t give any to them.

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