TV gardener Don Burke has dismissed allegations of pork barrelling against New England MP Barnaby Joyce, saying the forced move of a Canberra-based public service agency to Armidale was for its own good.
The TV host said such manoeuvres by politicians "can be corruption, but not in this case".
Mr Burke said it was he who approached the Agriculture Minister several weeks ago to suggest some changes to the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority rather than Mr Joyce recruiting the TV figure to his cause.
Mr Joyce is pushing ahead with the move, despite a barrage of criticism.
An independent cost benefit analysis shreds the economic rationale for the move, finding the benefits to the Australian economy are "modest" and the advantages for the agency itself are "limited".
Taxpayers will have to foot a $26 million moving bill, the vast majority of the authority's staff do not want to go to Armidale and most will have to be paid redundancies and the loss of the 189 jobs will rip up to $157 million a year from Canberra's local economy.
But Mr Burke appeared in a Facebook video with the minister, posted the day the Ernst and Young report was published, supporting the move of the APVMA to Armidale.
The TV host, who was instrumental in setting up the authority in the 1990s, said he went to see Mr Joyce in late November to suggest some improvements to the way the APVMA operated.
"This is my baby, it took up so much of my life," Mr Burke told Fairfax.
After the two men found common ground in their thinking on the agency's future, the TV host said the minister gave him a "big cuddle" and then they went outside to shoot their Facebook post.
Mr Burke acknowledged that it was politically advantageous for Mr Joyce to move the agency to the heart of his electorate with taxpayers footing the bill, but Mr Burke said he believed the minister was working, ultimately, for the good of the nation.
"It's true that in moving it into his electorate, of course there's gains for Barnaby," Mr Burke said.
"But if you're a politician, if you have all those dreams of making Australia a better place and the rest of it, you can't do that if you're not in office.
"He's got to survive, and that aspect of it is nothing but professional practice.
"It can be corruption, but not in this case."
Mr Burke said he was no fan of decentralisation for its own sake, but he did worry that agencies in Canberra became remote from the communities they served.
"It worries me a bit that these bodies in Canberra are so remote from the industries and the people they serve," he said.
"I do not subscribe to decentralisation, even Moses 3000 years ago could tell you it doesn't work.
"But where something is appropriate to be somewhere other than Canberra and where you can make that work for the people involved, where you can set it up so it's a good lifestyle and professional choice for them, then I do believe in it.
"If most agriculture and most of the chemical industries and the people are on the east coast, and you want somewhere that's farming, then Armidale is pretty close to the middle."