Wellington, May 30 NZPA - Labour is continuing to question the approval of $4.8 million in the budget for the Pacific Economic Development Agency (Peda), but the group's founder says it will be justified.
Pacific Island Affairs Minister Georgina te Heuheu said the funding, to be spread over four years, would go towards improving the welfare of Pacific people in Auckland, but Labour's MP for Mangere, Su'a William Sio, said little was known about Peda and questioned who within the organisation had lobbied for the money.
He said while funding had been approved, there was little evidence of accountability and objective details having been worked out, and the lack of transparency was concerning.
Peda chief executive JR Pereira said today in the Sunday News the company had submitted a "robust" case for the funding and schemes administered by experienced staff would benefit economic development in Pacific communities.
Mr Pereira, who has worked in the Pacific Island Affairs Ministry, said the thrust of the plan was around the targeted up-skilling of young Pacific Islanders, and that would include working with training and employer bodies and providing mentor support.
Peda was not yet well-known but its members "have a wealth of experience to justify the grant", he said.
Prime Minister John Key was questioned about the funding following the budget and said it was a "small amount of money targeted at lifting Pacific performance".
"Treasury will kick the tyres. If we don't get value for money then we stop things...it won't be any different for this organisation. If they don't meet their objectives, the money will stop," he said.