The Ardern government – focused on promoting wellbeing and diversity – is obviously keen to ensure the beneficiaries of its spending decisions are not left oblivious to what it is doing for them.
Associate Education Minister Tracey Martin yesterday made one of the spending announcements that inevitably trigger the Point of Order Trough Monitor (which is programmed to alert us to government spending decisions but not to make value judgements about the worthiness of those decisions).
In this case, the announcement related to increased funding of $9.9 million over the next four years to benefit children and young people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Yesterday was Friday so Shane Jones and his bag(s) of goodies should have been in ….
Oh, yes. Back on his home patch of Northland and (no surprise) he returned to distribute money.
Meningitis was there, too, as a political rival , Whangarei MP Shane Reti, pointed out.
An agenda item for next week’s Northland District Health Board meeting confirms that there has been another case of Meningitis W in Northland, Reti said in a press statement.
“This brings the total to two this year after a seven month old child contracted the disease earlier in the year. There were seven cases of Meningitis W in Northland last year and an outbreak was declared on 8 November, resulting in one death.”
Reti had “grave concerns” that meningitis would flare up again over winter.
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.
In this, Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced that Budget 2019 has allocated $56.1 million over four years towards implementing the Whenua Māori Programme which Mahuta announced in February.
She described this as “a strategic investmentinto the development of whenua, Māori freehold landowners and their whānau.”
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.
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.