Jones (carrying our money) has gone south to enthuse about a rail investment and to seed more tree planting

Moneybags Minister Shane Jones has gone south to dish out more money for tree planting in Canterbury after visiting Greymouth to give an accounting of the goodies being generated by money invested on the West Coast. Southlanders will be blessed with the Munificent Marvel’s presence tomorrow.

West Coasters might have been disappointed that he essentially did no more than bandy numbers to justify the wisdom of a Provincial Growth Fund investment in TransAlpine, announced last November.

You could say he has been counting their blessings and visited Greymouth to let the locals know the good news.

But hey – it’s just over a fortnight since he visited the West Coast as Minister of Forestry to announce more than 70,000 native trees are to be planted over the next three years to help restore the Waimea Inlet.

More than $1 million was committed to the project, the money coming from the $240m grants and partnership fund as part of the Government’s One Billion Trees programme.

Jones was wearing his Forestry hat when he travelled to Canterbury (did he go by train?) to provide support for  native planting and restoration projects from the One Billion Trees Fund.

Here’s what we learn from the Point of Order Trough MonitorContinue reading “Jones (carrying our money) has gone south to enthuse about a rail investment and to seed more tree planting”

Questions are raised about the PGF and its promise of provincial rejuvenation

Regional  Economic  Development  Minister  Shane  Jones has  one of  the  great  jobs  in  modern  NZ   politics.   He’s  in   charge  of  spending the  $3bn  Provincial  Growth  Fund,  which  NZ  First  extracted from Labour  as   part of  its  coalition  negotiation.

Already  $2bn   has  been  committed,  and  the fund  is expected to allocate  the  remaining  $1bn  before  next  year’s general  election.

Job  done.

And  the  provinces, the theory goes,  will be  so grateful   they  will ensure   NZ  First  gets  back  to Parliament to  deliver a  repeat dose  post- 2020

Or will  they?

Shane Jones has  certainly  generated a  constant  flow of  headlines,  but  will the benefits to the provinces  yield  sustained  economic development,   and  produce a  renaissance  in the  provincial  cities?  Will  the   economic  benefits  be  solid  enough to  filter down to  the  average  resident  in the  supposedly  deprived  regions? Continue reading “Questions are raised about the PGF and its promise of provincial rejuvenation”

Value-add is sidelined while Jones enthuses about railways and export logs

Just as we anticipated, Shane Jones left the Kapiti Coast yesterday and crossed the Rimutakas to distribute more largesse from the Provincial Growth Fund in the Wairarapa.

He did not travel by train (so far as we know), but he spoke as Associate Minister of Transport to extol the virtues of rail transport and explained why PGF goodies were being invested in KiwiRail and rail hubs.

He also spoke as Minister of Forestry to enthuse about trees and the economic potential of logging.

Logging?

Yep. Value-add seemed to have been forgotten – the talk was about humping logs to ports by rail for shipping overseas.

Perhaps that’s why he wasn’t wearing his Regional Economic Development hat.  Economic development calls for doing something more than chopping trees down and sending logs to China. Continue reading “Value-add is sidelined while Jones enthuses about railways and export logs”

Money is dished up for the war on plastics, development in Kapiti and the promotion of te reo

It’s been a bit quiet, on the Provincial Growth Fund front. We had supposed (a) Shane Jones needed a breather from ladelling out money up and down the country; (b) the PGF trough needed replenishing; or (c) a mix of both.

We were caught napping, therefore,when the Point of Order Trough Monitor was triggered by a flurry of announcements.

First, in tandem with Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage, he announced a $40 million allocation from the PGF for investment in projects to tackle waste. Officials are being despatched to look for suitable recipients.

Then Jones headed for Otaki where the good people of the Kapiti Coast learned they are in the money.  Or a few of them are and the money is modest.  Perhaps they are at the wrong end of the North Island. Continue reading “Money is dished up for the war on plastics, development in Kapiti and the promotion of te reo”

NZ First ministers announce more handouts from the PGF while Mahuta announces money for Maori

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones can’t be in two places at once and so had to share the headlines today, as more handouts from the Provincial Growth Fund were announced.

Jones took care of announcing a dip into the fund to boost economic growth in Otago.

Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis shared the limelight. He enthused about Clutha Gold being one of the 22 Great Rides of Ngā Haerenga New Zealand Cycle Trail “and we’re delighted to be encouraging more people to get on a bike and experience the beauty of Central Otago through this investment,” he said.

Investment?

The press statement says the PGF will provide a “grant” of $6.5m to the project and the Government’s Cycle Trail Enhancement and Extension Fund will provide an additional $1.5 million.

A press statement from the office of the Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development, Fletcher Tabuteau,  meanwhile, drew attention to a more modest bucket of PGF goodies for the Wairarapa.

In this case New Zealand First’s Ron Mark had the pleasure of making the announcement in Carterton. He is a former mayor of Carterton.

A “strategic investment into the development of whenua” was another announcement today.

Budget 2019 allocates $56.1 million over four years towards implementing the Whenua Māori Programme which Mahuta announced in February.  

We were alerted to these goings-on with taxpayers’ money by the Point of Order Trough Monitor, which keeps tabs on Beehive announcements of government spending, investments, handouts, giveaways – and so on.

The monitor was  triggered by: Continue reading “NZ First ministers announce more handouts from the PGF while Mahuta announces money for Maori”

A Green minister finds favour with farming – in this case, to torpedo gold mining plans

It took them a few days to reflect on things, after Land Information Minister Eugenie Sage declined Oceana Gold’s application to purchase land adjacent to its Waihi mine under the Overseas Investment Act.

But Straterra, New Zealand’s minerals sector industry organisation, has publicly expressed disappointment and contends the decision was based explicitly on her anti-mining ideology.

“The application was declined by the Land Information Minister apparently on the grounds that the land would be better retained for dairying.”

If this be so, Sage will have been ideologically conflicted.

The Greens are notoriously hostile to mining – but when did they last come out in favour of dairying? Continue reading “A Green minister finds favour with farming – in this case, to torpedo gold mining plans”

MBIE’s job numbers raise questions about political neutrality and professional scepticism

A Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment mandarin’s intervention on the issue of the $3 billion Provincial Growth Fund’s job creation raises further questions about public service neutrality and propriety.  This follows hard on the heels of the IRD’s constitutional transgressions.

The NZ Herald yesterday yesterday drew attention to the conflict with two observations:

  • National’s Paul Goldsmith says only 54 jobs have been created from funded Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) projects so far.
  •  Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones told Parliament late last year that 9000 jobs had been created.

The Herald proceeded to check out the MBIE website which shows more than 10,000 jobs are expected to be created as a result of Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) announcements made last year.

Seven thousand of these – almost 70 per cent – are estimated to come from just one project: The East Bay of Plenty Regional Development Project Implementation. Continue reading “MBIE’s job numbers raise questions about political neutrality and professional scepticism”