In May TVNZ took a hard look and decided (according to the headline on this report) Jobs created by provincial growth fund may not be quite what they seem.
The report proceeded to reveal:
The $3 billion provincial growth fund might have created more than 500 jobs but figures obtained by 1 NEWS show those jobs may not be quite what they seem.
A total of 562 jobs have been created through more than 60 projects. Of that, 272 are full time jobs, 193 are part time jobs, 52 come from the one billion trees programme, meaning some are trainee jobs. Officials can’t say whether the remaining 45 are full time jobs or not.
Some of the jobs might not even be new and may be taken up by local contractors on a short term basis.
ACT leader David Seymour today has thrown more light on the PGF.
By his reckoning (or the reckoning of one of his staff) –
“Shane Jones is paying almost $1 million to get each ‘neph’ off the couch through his Provincial Growth Fund” …
On Newshub Nation this morning, Seymour explained, Jones said the PGF “slush fund” has created well over 1000 jobs so far.
Alas, we missed the programme. But according to Seymour (or his economic team) –
“If we assume the Provincial Growth Fund has created 1500 jobs through the $1.38 billion of taxpayer money committed, Mr Jones is paying almost $1 million dollars to get each New Zealander into work.
We have assumed Seymour has done his sums and – more or less – come up with the right answer. If he’s wrong, we can expect Jones to thunder his rebuttal pretty quickly – or get a ministry official to put the record straight.
Seymour says he and the rest of us are used to seeing waste in Wellington and recalls how Steven Joyce and Simon Bridges built a formidable corporate welfare machine.
“But Jones is taking it to another level. He is running a taxpayer-funded political campaign on behalf of NZ First as he travels around the provinces dispensing largesse at every stop.”
Seymour proceeds to pull out the ACT Party economic textbook and observe that
“ … no one creates jobs as efficiently as firms investing their own money. Businesses must invest for results, but politicians are simply buying votes. It’s no wonder Provincial Growth Fund jobs come at a cost of $1 million – outcomes don’t matter to Jones when they’ll only become clear after 2020.”
Then (inevitably) comes the party policy plug:
“This is why ACT would cut wasteful handouts for the private sector like the Provincial Growth Fund and cut the company tax rate to 17.5 per cent.
“That would ensure that all firms – not just those that are politically-connected in Wellington – have a shot at getting ahead.
This is a reminder that cutting company taxes is part of ACT’s $10 billion tax cut plan “to give New Zealand taxpayers a fair go.”
It’s not the only way to give us a fair go, of course.
But it is disconcerting that the size of the corporate handouts and the enterprises to which they are given is the only obvious difference between this government and its predecessor when it comes to encouraging business growth.