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.
NZ First MP Jenny Marcroft – we may suppose – has yet to become a Point of Order subscriber.
We suppose this on the strength of a patsy question she put to Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones in Parliament yesterday.
We must confess we were gobmacked by the gall of the question – she wanted to know what recent Provincial Growth Fund announcements Jones had made.
Clearly she was oblivious to this blog’s regular reportage of PGF distributions, as we record the government spending detected by the Point of Order Trough Monitor.
More bizarre, the flood of PGF announcements from Jones is recorded on the Beehive website. Marcroft’s staff (it seems) have yet to show her how to use her computer to find out where the money is going.
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.
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.
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
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.
Yep. Value-add seemed to have been forgotten – the talk was about humping logs to ports by rail for shipping overseas.