NZ gov slammed for wine tasting11th August, 2014 by Neal Baker
The New Zealand government has been criticised for spending NZ$7200 of taxpayers’ money treating oil industry executives to a wine tasting in 2011, as details of the trip were released this week.
The Green Party said that the minority government led by the National Party had confirmed that a wine tasting trip to Palliser Estate in Martinborough, which included a catered lunch by chef Ruth Pretty, cost $7200 (£3630) in public funds.
Green Party co-leader Russel Norman said National appeared to have a “bottomless slush-fund” for “big oil”, reports the New Zealand Herald.
He said energy minister Simon Bridges was giving first class treatment to oil executives with the wine tasting – one of several activities laid on for the guests – while the country’s “precious environment gets third class treatment”.
However, the minister has described the spending as an investment due to the tax revenue given to the national purse from oil companies. He is also quoted as saying the budget for the trip was “very modest”.
Two of the companies treated to the tasting – Norway’s Statoil and Australia’s Woodside – have since been granted the right to oil exploration in New Zealand.
Dr Norman responded to this, telling the Herald: “The extend of [The National Party's] indulgence shows just how out of touch it is with ordinary people.
“It’s offensive to New Zealand families struggling to get by for their money to be used on yachting and wine tasting for foreign oil executives.”