The Government is giving $4.8 million to a private company with a single shareholder to help boost business, entrepreneurship and general living standards in Pacific communities in Auckland.

The Pacific Economic Development Agency (Peda) will collect the windfall - detailed in the Budget and to be delivered over four years - but chief executive Anthony Pereira said he would not be personally paid.

The bulk of the Government money would go to social projects and other initiatives to help Pacific businesses, and the agency would be closely monitored by the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs.

Pacific Island Affairs Minister Georgina te Heuheu could not be reached for comment.

Pacific commentators, including the New Zealand Pacific website pacificeyewitness.com, have questioned the grant.

From the pacificeyewitness website: "We've never heard of this organisation which is a limited liability company. Was there a tender for this? Don't know. No information as yet on what exactly they will be doing."

But Mr Pereira, who said he did not receive a Peda salary last year because there was no surplus revenue, said it did not matter that the agency was not well known.

He said the Government money would go to projects such as the Pacific Skilled Employment - a programme for young Pacific Islanders aged 19 to 24.

Most of the 12 people who attended the pilot scheme in 2008 through the TrainSmart programme - aimed at numeracy, literacy, language and business skills - had passed, he said.

A lack of funding meant there was no course in 2009, but with the Government grant, Mr Pereira said he wanted between 100 and 150 people to go through the programme each year.

"There is a cohort of young Pacific people who have left school with no NCEA," he said.

The agency, which first sought money under the Labour Government in 2007, had a hand in setting up the Pacific Chamber of Commerce.

"We are the only Pacific economic development group in the country. We are thankful for the grant, but at the same time, there is a lot of work to do," Mr Pereira said.

"There are pockets of communities in severe hardships. It will also stifle economic growth ... if nothing is done with this sector of the population. so we're trying to lift that."

He said there was a strong involvement with church groups, but said church groups were an important part of Pacific families.

He likened Peda to Government social services policy Whanau Ora, but for Pacific communities and with a focus on helping Pacific businesses.

He said the agency had worked with former All Blacks and staunch National Party supporters Inga Tuigamala and Michael Jones, but only in the relief work following the tsunami in Samoa last year.

Mr Tuigamala said last night that he and Mr Jones were not involved with the agency, nor did they have any hand in the granting of government money. "It has nothing to do with us."