Northland doesn’t reject the millions Jones brings to his home patch – but polls suggests it will reject him

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Here’s hoping the hundreds of millions of dollars pumped into Northland from the Provincial Growth Fund and other government programmes do much more to promote the region’s economic and social wellbeing than they are doing to enhance Shane Jones’ election prospects.

He is bound to be disappointed.  Besides channelling substantial loans and grants into his home patch, Jones has staunchly championed the region in other ways – by promoting the proposal to move Auckland’s port to Whangarei, for example.

But a new Q+A/Colmar Brunton poll suggests Jones is running a distant-third behind the incumbent National MP Matt King and Labour’s Willow-Jean Prime.  It showed King on 46 per cent support for the seat vote, Prime on 31 per cent, and Jones on 15 per cent.

Labour was ahead in the party vote within the electorate at 41 per cent, with National not far behind at 38 per cent, ACT next at 8 per cent, and NZ First at 7 per cent.

How much more money (we wonder) would make Jones a shoo-in? Continue reading “Northland doesn’t reject the millions Jones brings to his home patch – but polls suggests it will reject him”

PM counts the blessings of being on good terms with China while her Finance Minister counts billions of Covid Fund handouts

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China’s relations with the United States and Australia (as Point of Order readers know) are seriously strained and now we can add Britain to the list of countries that are turning up the heat on the authoritarian government in Beijing.   Britain will suspend its extradition treaty with Hong Kong in an escalation of a dispute with China over its introduction of a national security law for the former British colony.

But our PM – in a speech to the China Business Summit – emphasised three points:

  • Our important relationship with China, New Zealand’s largest trading partner, is in good shape.
  • While we have different perspectives on some issues, we continue to manage these well.
  • And there continue to be many opportunities for New Zealand to develop with China.

But perhaps a more  significant announcement from the Beehive yesterday came from Finance Minister Grant Robertson, who said the remainder of the COVID Response and Recovery Fund “is being set aside to make sure New Zealand is in a strong position to fight whatever COVID-19 throws at the economy”.

It was comforting to hear it hasn’t all been spent yet, contrary to the impression created by the daily flow of spending announcements recorded here.  Continue reading “PM counts the blessings of being on good terms with China while her Finance Minister counts billions of Covid Fund handouts”

Woods calls in the cops, Peters calls in the doctors and – is this news any more? – millions are pumped into Northland

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Hard on the heels of the government promising help for the Southland economy in the wake of Rio Tinto’s decision to close the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter, it was announcing the delivery of more money to the North, at the other end of the country.

Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage announced a somewhat modest $361,447 grant from the Ministry for the Environment’s Waste Minimisation Fund (WMF) for waste reduction and recycling programmes in Kaipara.

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones (we suspect he wouldn’t bother getting out of bed to announce a sum of that size) more grandly announced a multi-million-dollar investment in Whangārei for infrastructure projects:

“More than 200 jobs are expected to be created through the $26 million investment from the Government’s rejuvenation package aimed at kick-starting the post COVID-19 economic rebuild.

“The funding is an investment in the wellbeing infrastructure of Whangārei, covering a group of projects identified by the region as priorities. They include a cultural centre, new mixed transport pathways and sports and trades training facilities. 

“Building infrastructure is a key component of our economic recovery plan. It creates jobs and provides much-needed economic stimulus. Money invested now will reap rewards later as we take care of our communities.”

Another big announcement came from Housing Minister Megan Woods in connection with her job in charge of Covid-19 quarantine management. Continue reading “Woods calls in the cops, Peters calls in the doctors and – is this news any more? – millions are pumped into Northland”

PGF alchemists turn $$$ into water to beat the Northland drought

Shane Jones was back in his Northland home patch during the week to announce the serving of another dollop of public money from the Provincial Growth Fund.   It was not the first allocation of PGF funding to benefit the region this year.

This time the PGF will allocate up to $2 million to set up temporary water supplies in drought-stricken Kaikohe and Kaitaia.

Just three weeks ago Jones and Deputy PM Winston Peters were in the Far North to announce the provision of up to $12.7 million “to make Northland more resilient in the face of extreme weather”.

At that time the NZ First ministerial twosome also announced the PGF will pump $4 million into upgrading the Dargaville pontoon and a $109.7 million investment into regional rail to revitalise train services across the Northland region.

The latest PGF allocation is a response to severe water shortages in parts of the region.  Town water supply is at risk, particularly in Kaikohe and Kaitaia, if there is no significant rain in the next few weeks. Continue reading “PGF alchemists turn $$$ into water to beat the Northland drought”

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?”

The Trough Monitor is alerted as more millions are poured into the Far North region

The announcement was made by Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis, whose Maori electorate happens to include the Kaikohe area which will benefit from the handouts.

He said the Provincial Growth Fund will invest $2.8 million “to further economic growth opportunities in tourism in the Mid-North and help lift the prosperity and well being of its communities”.

First, the PGF is investing $1.79 million to redevelop and enhance Te Waiariki Ngawha Springs, located near Kaikohe. Continue reading “The Trough Monitor is alerted as more millions are poured into the Far North region”

Kelvin Davis dishes up an $8.2m serving from the PGF trough for projects in his home patch

The Point of Order Trough Monitor was keeping an eye on Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis, while he was back on his home patch yesterday dispensing largesse from the Provincial Growth Fund.

The latest offerings amounted to $8.2 million.   This brings the grand total of PGF funding for the region so far to almost $100 million.

Davis issued a press statement to affirm what we suspected: he was on a mission to further flaunt his government’s munificence.

The statement was headlined Government investment in Far North’s future.

The political pitch dripped with promise of a better tomorrow:  Continue reading “Kelvin Davis dishes up an $8.2m serving from the PGF trough for projects in his home patch”