Point of Order has been keeping an eye on how taxpayers’ money has been spent – or given away – by the Ardern Government over the past week.
Ministers typically get a warm glow from announcing spending decisions, grants or the establishment of new troughs within the authority of their portfolios.
Here’s what our check of their press statements shows they announced in the past week…
28 AUGUST 2018
PGF support for West Coast fishing industry
Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced the Provincial Growth Fund will provide $750,000 to allow the slipway and lagoon at Greymouth Port to be dredged to four metres. This would enable Greymouth Port to ensure fishing boats can use the lagoon during low tide, he said.
Prime Minister announces Business Advisory Council
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the formation of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council, chaired by Air New Zealand CEO Christopher Luxon. It is intended to build closer relationships between Government and business, provide high-level free and frank advice to the Prime Minister on key economic issues and to create a vehicle to harness expertise from the private sector to inform the development of the Government’s economic policies. No costings are available.
30 AUGUST 2018
Te Pūtake o Te Riri – Wars and Conflicts in Aotearoa New Zealand Fund opens
Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta opened the Te Pūtake o Te Riri – Wars and Conflicts in Aotearoa New Zealand Fund, which “supports whānau, hapū and iwi to bring to life the stories of our past and present that speak to Aotearoa’s cultural evolution”. Examples of commemorative activities may include local tours or events, the development of resources or community wānanga. The Government has set aside $4m over four years (from 2017 to 2020). Fund application information explaining how to dip into the trough can be found HERE.
Emergency management system reform, fly-in teams funded to support communities
Civil Defence Minister Kris Faafoi released the Government’s response to the report on New Zealand’s civil defence emergency response system, including funding of $5.2m for specialist rapid response teams to support communities in an emergency. The Ministerial Technical Advisory Group (TAG) was set up following the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake and the 2017 Port Hills fires. A further $1m in new funding will progress other initiatives including the business cases for a new emergency management facility ($250,000) and a common operating picture across the sector ($400,000), and work on legislative changes required ($400,000).
$10m to build a new home for Rotorua Wharekura
Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced Te Wharekura o Ngati Rongomai is to receive $10m to build new property. The money will enable the wharekura to have its own permanent property for the first time and become an established wharekura in its own right.
First-homebuyer assistance boosted for Queenstown district
Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford announced the HomeStart and Welcome Home Loan house price caps for Queenstown Lakes will be increased to $600,000 for existing homes and $650,000 for new builds to enable more first-home buyers to get onto the property ladder. The previous HomeStart price caps were $500,000 for existing homes and $550,000 for new builds.
More infrastructure funding for Queenstown Lakes District
Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford confirmed $24m of 10-year interest-free loans to Queenstown Lakes District Council to support major infrastructure projects around Ladies Mile at the entranceway to Queenstown. The funding brings forward the development of around 1,100 houses by six years with the first houses expected in 2020. This follows the announcement earlier this month of $52m to enable the building of 1,850 houses in Kingston and at new greenfield sites adjacent to Quail Rise on the Frankton Flats. All up, $76m in 10-year interest-free loans from the Government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund will be pumped into Queenstown to increase the supply of housing.
31 AUGUST 2018
Innovative hospitality training programme to be expanded
Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced a Rotorua-based training programme which finds work in the hospitality sector for local people from disadvantaged backgrounds will be expanded to Christchurch. The Fast Track Partnership Programme is a joint initiative between AccorHotels, Tourism Industry Aotearoa and Ministry of Social Development. No costs were included in the announcement.
Record transport investment to get New Zealand moving and save lives
Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced a record $16.9bn investment in the land transport system over the next three years “to deliver a safer, better connected and more resilient transport system that will get New Zealand moving”. The planned investments are detailed in the 2018-21 National Land Transport Programme, published by the NZ Transport Agency. The programme comprises $12.9bn from the National Land Transport Fund, generated through fuel excise, road user charges, and other revenue sources; $3.4bn from local government, generated through rates and Auckland’s Regional Fuel Tax; and $557m in other Crown investments. Full details of the investments being made through the programme, including detailed regional breakdowns, can be found HERE.
PGF supports future of Napier’s National Aquarium
Regional Economic Development Under Secretary Fletcher Tabuteau announced the Provincial Growth Fund will contribute $350,000 to develop a detailed business case for the expansion and enhancement of the National Aquarium of New Zealand in Napier. The business case will be co-funded by the PGF and the Napier City Council at a total cost of $700,000.