Keeping up with Jones: Mahuta (to help marae) and Parker (for moana remediation ) are dab hands at dishing out millions, too

Our uncharitable suspicions have been allayed.  NZ First’s Shane Jones insists he is not feverishly dishing out millions of dollars in the last few days of the election campaign in a desperate effort to curry favour with voters.

He has described expressions of outrage over a $100 million boost for marae from the Provincial Growth Fund, announced this week as “tawdry”.

And let’s be fair –

  • Only some of the marae funding is bound for Northland, where Jones is campaigning for election – $9,287,603 of a total $96,515,895;
  • Labour’s Nanaia Mahuta attached her name to the joint announcement about the goodies for marae;
  • Environment Minister David Parker brought good news (and money) to the Far North, too. He signed a Memorandum of Understanding at Waihāua Marae between the Crown, local iwi and councils

“ … to protect, restore and enhance the mauri of Kaipara Moana in Northland”.

 Parker recalled that in this year’s Budget, as part of the Jobs for Nature package, the Government committed $100 million towards the remediation of Kaipara Moana, New Zealand’s largest estuarine ecosystem, with a matching $100 million contribution from local councils and landowners.

“The $200 million Kaipara Moana Remediation Programme will restore mauri to Kaipara Moana while at the same time creating local jobs and opportunities. Close to 100 jobs will be established in the first year alone,” David Parker said. 

The MOU is the catalyst to establish the Joint Committee between Kaipara Uri and the councils to govern the remediation programme. Continue reading “Keeping up with Jones: Mahuta (to help marae) and Parker (for moana remediation ) are dab hands at dishing out millions, too”

It was quiet on the Beehive front until Jones announced another PGF project and Hipkins drew attention to “free” education

There’s been a bemusing paucity of buzz from the Beehive over the past few days.

Paucity – but not absence.

And Shane Jones, never mute for long, has yet to empty the Provincial Growth Fund.

He has dipped into the fund and come up with $4.6 million to help Ruapehu District Council develop two new shared use trails from Turoa to Ohakune, to Horopito and Erua. This will create a continuous path from Mount Ruapehu to Whanganui and the Tasman Sea that can be completed by users over a number of days, taking them on a journey through two national parks.

Several existing trails in the region will  be upgraded, improving access to the landscape and World Heritage areas and creating a more sustainable visitor experience.

When complete, the trails are expected to attract more than 27,000 visitors to the region, and will create up to 127 local jobs through construction, maintenance and ongoing operation.

We suppose this means 27,000 visitors a year. Let’s see. Continue reading “It was quiet on the Beehive front until Jones announced another PGF project and Hipkins drew attention to “free” education”

Another gin maker is given an expansionary tonic with help from the PGF

The government is pumping more public money into the booze business.    

The beneficiary of an $800,000 loan is BeGin Distilling, in New Plymouth, which makes Juno gin.  It is borrowing the money to expand its operations, employ more staff and provide greater opportunities for local farmers.

In other words, the Ardern Government is borrowing to lend money to BeGin and other businesses which become the recipients of loans through an array of developmental programmes.

The Reefton Distillery Co last week became the recipient of a $928,000 loan for its expansion.  

 The South Taranaki museum,  and a Pasifika building firm will benefit, too, from Government investments totalling more than $1 million announced yesterday by Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says.

Continue reading “Another gin maker is given an expansionary tonic with help from the PGF”

Sio makes a tierful announcement (with a funding fillip) for Pacifika languages and (with Shane Jones) delivers $10m to Pacifika churches

Churches – or 27 Pasifika churches, to be ethnic-specific – are to benefit from the government largess being distributed in the name of the Covid-19 response and recovery programme.

These churches will receive a total of nearly $10 million in government funding for renovations and improvements, “to improve facilities for the communities they serve and create jobs”, as Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Pacific Peoples Minister Aupito William Sio explained.

Provincial Growth Fund money for the renovation of town halls, war memorials, Pasifika churches and marae were earmarked in May as part of at least $600 million refocused on projects with more immediate jobs and economic benefits as part of the Covid-19 recovery.

The churches that applied are spread throughout the regions – from Balclutha to Oamaru and up to Hamilton, Jones said.

A good question to ask is how many missed out on getting a helping hand from taxpayers and why did they fail to be given the government’s blessing. Continue reading “Sio makes a tierful announcement (with a funding fillip) for Pacifika languages and (with Shane Jones) delivers $10m to Pacifika churches”

DOC staff in Hokitika could have been housed for a song a few years ago – now it will cost us $22 million

“Going for a song” was how the former Hokitika government building known as Seddon House was advertised in 2014.

According to an NBR report at that time, Barfoot & Thompson was listing Seddon House at $295,000, down from $1.2 million in 2008.  It had a rateable value of $340,000 and had last changed hands in 2002 for $90,000.

Its value today?  We can only guess, but Hokitika has been described as “the most affordable” suburb in the Westland district and has a median house price of $274,700.

We checked out those property figures after learning the government has earmarked Seddon House in Hokitika (“once a hub for government on the West Coast”) for government use once again.

A hub for government sounds impressive, although the press statement referred only to DOC staff  working from there.

A brick, timber and corrugated iron construction, Seddon House is a Category 1 historic place on the New Zealand Heritage List Rārangi Kōrero.  It will undergo seismic strengthening and be refitted for use as offices for the Department of Conservation (DOC), which will lease the building.

So how much does it cost to find new office space for around 85 DOC staff?

Brace for a nasty surprise, dear taxpayer. Continue reading “DOC staff in Hokitika could have been housed for a song a few years ago – now it will cost us $22 million”

Millions are committed to a Covid vaccine and to Northland’s wellbeing – there’s kindly Crown news, too, for the Dodds family

When we first checked the Beehive website for press statements this morning, we found just one announcement – from the Deputy PM – had been posted since September 19.  His news was that the Coalition Government has committed to invest $27 million in Covid-19 vaccine development through the global COVAX Facility.

This initial investment of $27 million is part of the allocation the Government announced in August from the Cocid-19 Response and Recovery Fund.

Peters grandly declared:

“The agreement will ensure that New Zealand receives enough vaccines to cover up to 50 per cent of the population of New Zealand and the Realm, which includes Tokelau, Cook Islands and Niue.” 

But whoa.  Hadn’t the PM announced that Auckland will be lowered to Alert Level 2 this week while the rest of the country has been lowered to Alert Level 1?

Indeed.  You can hear her deliver the good news here, via RNZ, but there was no written statement.

Since our morning check several more announcements have been posted on the Beehive website, including changes to various Covid-related programmes –  Continue reading “Millions are committed to a Covid vaccine and to Northland’s wellbeing – there’s kindly Crown news, too, for the Dodds family”

Nanaia Mahuta joins Jones in announcing a $2.96m handout – but the PM signals the plug will be pulled on the PGF

News about the Provincial Growth Fund, which often features in our daily Latest from the Beehive reports, typically involve announcements of the latest grants or loans.

Today Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced a battle site of the 1860s Land Wars will receive $2.96 million from the fund.

But other news about the PGF came not from the Beehive, but from the Labour and New Zealand First Parties.     

First, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern advised that the plug will be pulled on it if she leads the next government (presumably without a New Zealand First partner).

A new trough – with a weak $200 million gruel rather than $3 billion chowder – will be established in its place. Continue reading “Nanaia Mahuta joins Jones in announcing a $2.96m handout – but the PM signals the plug will be pulled on the PGF”

Ron makes his mark on the distribution of military gongs while Shane shows the PGF hasn’t been emptied yet

Latest from the Beehive

Shane Jones, as Regional Economic Development Minister, is still in business with announcements from the Provincial Growth Fund.  He has announced two more distributions today while his colleague, Defence Minister Ron Mark, was cheering an overhaul of the distribution of gongs.

The Beehive’s announcements show:

  • Funding of $12.2m, from the Te Ara Mahi allocation of the Provincial Growth Fund, will support a range of education, skills training, pre-employment and job pathway projects in Bay of Plenty, Waikato, Tairāwhiti, Hawke’s Bay, Northland and Manawatū-Whanganui.  The projects will increase the number of people enrolled in PGF-funded skills and employment programmes from the 11,090 announced last month to around 13,150.
  • $6.7 million will go to nine programmes around the country to address the toll meth is taking on people in the regions, their families and whanau, and communities. This funding is part of the $20 million allocated from the Provincial Growth in July to fight meth harm in the regions.
  • A $2 million expansion of the Backcountry Trust’s programme to repair and maintain huts, tracks and bridges in some of New Zealand’s more remote places as part of the Government’s $1.3 billion Jobs for Nature programme.  The trust has a long-term partnership with DOC to help maintain our nationwide network of backcountry tracks and huts.

Continue reading “Ron makes his mark on the distribution of military gongs while Shane shows the PGF hasn’t been emptied yet”

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

Latest from the Beehive

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”

While Shaw was blaming previous governments for the urgency of climate change issues, Peters and Jones were throwing money at the problem

The Green Party’s James Shaw – as Minister for Climate Change – was quick to turn the just-published National Climate Change Risk Assessment to political advantage.

The report identifies 43 risks that could have a major or extreme consequence to New Zealand, 10 of them described as significant risks requiring urgent action in the next six years.

Shaw said the progress the Ardern Government has made to solve the climate crisis is essential to creating cleaner and safer communities across New Zealand.

“Because of this report, we can see clearer than ever that the action our Government is taking to reduce emissions is essential for making sure we pass on a safer planet to our children and grandchildren,” James Shaw said.

And:

“Many of the risks we face can be traced back to the failure of previous governments to take any meaningful action to cut our emissions.”  

But the New Zealand First Party knows how to turn things to its political advantage, too, and happens to be skilled in the not-so-subtle art of telling voters in the provinces how it is throwing public money at problems. Continue reading “While Shaw was blaming previous governments for the urgency of climate change issues, Peters and Jones were throwing money at the problem”