Revealed: Top-level Cabinet talks over funding Parker fight
The Government has held discussions at the top level about putting up taxpayer cash to keep Joseph Parker's world heavyweight title fight in New Zealand, Newshub has learned.
A request from event promoters Duco for a cash subsidy was discussed by ministers at their weekly Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce put it on the agenda, after talking through the application under the 'Major Events Fund' - with officials from the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment in the morning.
Newshub has also learned Police Minister Judith Collins stepped outside Cabinet during the talks because she has a conflict of interest as Parker's 'aunty' - he is the cousin of her husband, David Wong Tung.
Steven Joyce outlined one potential condition: that if Duco, a private company, makes a profit, it would have to pay the taxpayer back.
"It depends on the agreement that we sign," he said.
"That is something that we could consider in this instance - for example, in the Under-20 World Cup they made some money and some of it was returned to taxpayers [and] some of it was returned to promotion of the football code in New Zealand.
"We're just literally not interested in funding somebody just because they turn up and ask for it - it's got to be about something that otherwise wouldn't happen. We're not interested in just paying somebody for an event that they're already going to run."
Duco co-owner Dean Lonergan declined to comment on that particular condition, saying he wanted to wait until he heard Steven Joyce say that publicly.
The Beehive downplaying the talks was only discussed quickly with officials and with Cabinet - but obviously that discussion in Cabinet took long enough for Judith Collins to step outside.
Because of the conflict of interest with Parker, Judith Collins has promised to excuse herself from any future Cabinet discussions.