This is not a story:
Stadium Southland Trust chairman Acton Smith’s letter to Prime Minister John Key asking the Government to pump $1.5 million into the stadium rebuild has resembled a hot potato in Parliament, being shifted from office to office, to office to office.
This is what is called proper procedure. In fact, the correct way for the Stadium Trust to go about this would have been to:
a) Write a letter to the Minister of Internal Affairs (responsible for Lottery Grants) asking for the $1.5m extra dosh.
b) cc the letter to Bill English and the Prime Minister, for their information.
c) have a quiet begging word in Bill English’s ear to get him to support it.
Departments like Internal Affiars and Lottery Grants take a dim view of people trying to ‘backdoor’ applications through going direct to the head honcho. Expect the letter Chris Tremain is about to sign to say something along the lines of, “here’s the application form, apply and we’ll look at it.” Lottery Grants is particularly anal and easily annoyed by people trying to circumvent the process. It was a silly way to go about it.
But it’s not really a “hot potato” story. It’s called proper procedure, and stops any questions of unfair advantage and improper influence in the future.