The Gloriavale religious sect is entitled to apply for money from the Provincial Growth Fund but there is no guarantee its application will ever see the "fiscal light of day", Regional Economic Minister Shane Jones says.
1 NEWS reported last night that it understood the West Coast closed community was seeking millions of taxpayer dollars from the fund for a new health food company and factory.
Jones told reporters today he was confident officials would deal with the application professionally.
"But there's certainly no guarantee that that application is going to see the fiscal light of day," he said.
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Jones said he spoke to members of the sect when he visited the West Coast recently.
"I actually met, in the audience, two of the fellas from Gloriavale. They were dressed like 1950s sort of traffic officers so they did stick out a bit. They had figurative names, something like Eager Upright or something quite really strange. It was just an ordinary discussion.
"I'm not going to Gloriavale. I did not conceive at the time when we drove through the Cabinet paper that communes would be applying but I have to accept that they've made an application and it will go through the process," Jones said.
For the 2013/2014 year, the community, which has tax exemption as a charity, made a profit of more than $1.86 million.
The charity, which operating as the Christian Church Community Trust, was worth more than $36.6 million in assets including a dairy farm, deer enterprise and an aircraft repair firm.