Good for Northlanders – but how about the rest of taxpayers?

Hosannas for one of the latest handouts from the so-called Provincial Growth Fund – a $94.8m “investment” to bring up to operational standard a 54km section of the Northland rail line – were muted, not surprisingly.

NZ’s state-owned KiwiRail, which racked up a $235m loss in the 2018 year, and a $197m loss the year before that, looks as if it will be saddled with yet more loss-making services – but Deputy PM Winston Peters justifies the investment on the grounds the rail line to Whangarei would otherwise become “unsafe” and have to close within 5 years.

Continue reading “Good for Northlanders – but how about the rest of taxpayers?”

Science at work in the health sector

Overshadowed perhaps by the government’s push to improve care for cancer patients, an initiative by the Heart Foundation with the Healthier Lives National Science Challenge in making a $2m grant for a research programme, has high significance in the health sector.

Heart disease is NZ’s single biggest killer, claiming the lives of more than 6,300 NZers every year – that’s one person every 90 minutes. More than 22,000 Māori and more than 7,000 Pacific people are living with heart disease.

The new three-year study, the first major programme of its kind in NZ, aims to improve access to healthcare for Māori and Pacific people, which has the potential to achieve equity in heart health outcomes for all NZers.

Continue reading “Science at work in the health sector”

PGF provides for peanut processor Picot’s expansion project

The government has been splashing money around from an array of troughs in the past week.

Shane Jones was not the only minister to announce the handouts and the handouts weren’t peanuts, although a thriving peanut processor will be among the beneficiaries.

The Point of Order Trough Monitor has disclosed these projects for government spending and investment – Continue reading “PGF provides for peanut processor Picot’s expansion project”

Jones is back in the Waikato with PGF money to propel Te Waka – or perhaps to top it up

We are open to correction, but it seems Provincial Growth Fund fairy dust is not sprinkled in the Waikato as generously as it is in – let’s say – Northland.

A year ago, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones met with three district councils in the eastern Waikato – Thames-Coromandel, Hauraki, and Matamata-Piako – to discuss, among other things, the recently launched Guide to the PGF – Powering up Aotearoa – New Zealand’s Regions

A few days later Regional Economic Development Under-Secretary Fletcher Tabuteau spoke at a meeting in Hamilton hosted by the newly formed Waikato Regional Economic Development Agency about the fund and the opportunities it provides for the region.

“Waikato is full of potential and the Government is committed to working with the region to lift productivity and build on its many attributes,” Fletcher Tabuteau said. Continue reading “Jones is back in the Waikato with PGF money to propel Te Waka – or perhaps to top it up”

This Internal Affairs service dishes up a rich swill for the nation’s troughers

We thank Racing Minister Winston Peters for steering us to the Community Matters website.

He did this at the end of his announcement that 2019/20 applications for funding to improve racecourse safety are now open.

Further information (he advised) is available from

We went there and – wow.  We found enough troughs to keep Landcorp’s stock well nourished for the next year or so.

Community Matters, tucked inside the Internal Affairs Department, doesn’t seem to have much to do beyond giving money to the people it deems worthy.

Under “key dates“, we are advised the second 2019 Lottery Environment and Heritage funding round closes on Wednesday August 7; the second 2019 Chinese Poll Tax Heritage Fund funding round opens on Wednesday August 14; and the 2019 Ethnic Communities Development funding round opens on Wednesday August 14.

Some grants administered by Community Operations are open for requests all year round at any time.  These funds do not have opening or closing dates.

These are –  Continue reading “This Internal Affairs service dishes up a rich swill for the nation’s troughers”

Peters has command of a trough, too – and he is calling for applicants to dip in

Lest you have forgotten what a horse trough looks like – here’s a reminder.

Shane Jones’ mate and colleague (his party leader, too) is Winston Peters.

Besides being Deputy PM and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Peters happens to be Minister of Racing.

In that capacity he has announced that 2019/20 applications for funding to improve racecourse safety are now open.

The Racing Safety Development Fund has two funding rounds per year. The first funding round of 2019/20 is open for applications as of 31 July 2019.

“While the Government is in the process of implementing reforms to revitalise the racing industry, health and safety will always be of the upmost importance” says Mr Peters.

All racing clubs and racing code bodies are being advised to consider the condition and standard of their facilities and equipment, and assess whether they are safe for animals, staff and customers.

“The fund not only benefits clubs and racing bodies across the country, but helps to address the health and safety of the racing animals, riders, spectators, officials, and others involved in racing” says Mr Peters.

The Racing Safety Development Fund covers up to half the costs of a project with between $7,500 – $50,000 funding being available for each project.

Past projects have included improvements for safety running rails, irrigation and drainage, lighting upgrades and grandstand repair.

Applications must be submitted by 25 September 2019.

Further information is available here.  


Tourism is being nicely nourished by taxpayers and its Minister is calling eligible hogs to a replenished trough

While Kelvin Davis is calling oinkers to dip into a trough in his Tourism ministerial bailiwick, the Under Secretary for Regional Economic Development, Fletcher Tabuteau, was strutting his stuff at the official grand opening of a gondola which has been well oiled, financially, from the the Provincial Growth Fund to encourage tourism.    

Tabuteau also announced two PGF grants totalling $525,000 (plus a $25,000 contribution from the Department of Conservation) to support the Ruapehu District Council in undergoing vital long-term planning to foster sustainable tourism growth.

Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni meanwhile was announcing an initiative to help young Aucklanders gain their driver’s licence.  She claimed this will make the roads safer, a disturbing bit of information which implies a serious lack of policing to make our roads safer by ridding them of unlicensed drivers. 

Oh – and  Pacific People’s Minister Aupito William Sio was applying ethnic as well as geographical constraints to the help he was announcing:  the beneficiairies will be Pacific young people living in the Bay of Plenty, Waikato and Whanganui/Manawatu.

All this was detected in recent days by the Point of Order Trough Monitor, which checks out the blah from the Beehive (it is up to readers to decide if the money is being well spent or squandered). Continue reading “Tourism is being nicely nourished by taxpayers and its Minister is calling eligible hogs to a replenished trough”