The Herald reports:
A junior government minister has apologised to his senior colleagues for “crossing the line” after implying people who bagged the Government would lose their taxpayer funding.
Associate Housing Minister Alfred Ngaro reportedly told a National Party conference in Auckland Labour list candidate Willie Jackson could lose Government support for his charter school if he criticised National on the campaign trail.
“We are not happy about people taking with one hand and throwing with the other,” he told a National Party conference in Auckland, according to Newsroom.
“If you get up on the campaign trail and start bagging us, then all the things you are doing are off the table. They will not happen.”
National’s campaign manager and Finance Minister Steven Joyce said Ngaro realised he had crossed the line with his comments and apologised.
“He apologised to the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and myself as campaign chair. He got carried away…he crossed the line.”
Joyce said Ngaro’s comments were “not the way we operate”.
“We work with providers of all types all the time; people have their political views separate to work they do with the Government. The Government doesn’t take a view on people’s political views.”
If National stopped funding organisations that criticise them, then there would almost be funding at all. Ngaro was wrong to say what he said.
NGOs that provide valuable services such as the Salvation Army should be funded for those services, and that should not be impacted by the fact they sometimes criticise the Government.
However there is a breed of NGO that doesn’t provide valuable services. They are in fact just lobby groups for their points of view, and those lobby groups should not be funded by the taxpayer just so they can lobby Parliament and the Government. Funding should be reserved for the actual provision of useful services.