The biggest representative group of corporate bludgers in New Zealand have been caught bludging themselves.
Taxpayers have forked out over $228,000 to lobby group Federated Farmers since 2009, much to the surprise of its president William Rolleston.
Dr Rolleston has also refused to say whether corporate¬†donations are part of the¬†$7.45 million the federation has received in unspecified ‚Äúother revenue‚ÄĚ since 2008.
When NBR ONLINE informed Dr Rolleston that the Ministry for Primary Industries and its predecessors have paid about $228,000 to the federation over the past five years he replied, ‚ÄúGosh, really? What have they paid it for?‚ÄĚ
The information was¬†obtained under the Official Information Act and only includes payments of $500 and over.
It shows Federated Farmers received many payments via three Sustainable Farming Fund projects ‚Äď a contestable fund investing up to $8 million a year in applied research and projects led by farmers, growers and foresters.
The $228,658 in payments include three separate Federated Farmers farm days from 2010-2012 that the ministry contributed almost $150,000 toward. Other payments were made for leadership programmes, training seminars for farm managers, two Federated Farmers‚Äô AGMs, as well as attendance at an international sheep meat forum in Brussels. ¬† Read more »