Splashing $53 million on NZ pavilion at World Expo a waste of money, say Greens, ACT

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1 NEWS

Both opposition and Government support parties say spending $53.3 million on a New Zealand pavilion at the 2020 World Expo in Dubai is a waste of money.

Some are asking if spending that much to take part in the Dubai expo is worth it.
Source: 1 NEWS

The money which will come from next month's budget will pay for a pavilion that will promote New Zealand goods and services in the Gulf States region.

Greens co-leader James Shaw wants to know how the outlay will benefit New Zealand.

"Well I'd like to see what the cost benefit ratio is for spending that kind of public money," he said.

ACT leader David Seymour can't see the need for New Zealand to take part in the expo.

"People can find out about New Zealand via a thing called the internet. It's not necessary to have bureaucrats swanning around spending fifty-three million dollars of taxpayers' money," he said.

But Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges believes the investment will pay for itself through increased exports.

"This is a hard-headed investment decision by the Government into the economy and trading into these parts of the world," he said.

The $53 million investment also comes with New Zealand close to completing a long-awaited free trade deal with the host nation.

"I don't think that is why we are doing it per se, but certainly it's part of the story. The expo gives us the chance to hopefully leverage off a new free trade agreement." Mr Bridges said.

Mr Shaw is sceptical of any free trade deal with the Gulf State nations, saying they have some of the worst human rights records in the world.

The New Zealand pavilion at Dubai will be part of a themed section on "sustainability" and Kiwi firms will get the chance to design it.

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