Ministry responds to National's criticism the Provincial Growth Fund has only created 54 jobs, saying over 10,000 jobs 'may be created' in the future

Ministry responds to National's criticism the Provincial Growth Fund has only created 54 jobs, saying over 10,000 jobs 'may be created' in the future
Shane Jones by Jacky Carpenter.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has made a limp attempt at defending Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones in the face of criticism over what his $3 billion Provincial Growth Fund is achieving.

The Provincial Development Unit has released a statement to the media saying over 10,000 jobs “may be created as a result of PGF investment”.

Its note follows National’s Economic and Regional Development spokesperson Paul Goldsmith revealing the maths his party has done on the PGF, having asked the Government hundreds of written questions.

“Despite all the hoopla, only 38 of the 135 announced projects have received funding and just 3.4% of the funding has actually been paid out,” Goldsmith said.

“That’s $26.6 million for 54 jobs, or the equivalent of $490,191 per job." (Note, 94 people work in the Provincial Development Unit). 

“That’s a dismal outcome considering the mountain of press releases, town hall meetings and hyperbole being rolled out by this Government. Mr Jones would have you believe he’s the saviour of the provinces but the only thing he seems intent on saving is his political career."

Interviewed on Radio New Zealand’s Morning Report on Tuesday, Jones said: "I don't want to put a figure here just as I come to Waitangi Day, as how many exact jobs have been created because during the period of time that those stats have been released, more money has been allocated."

Jones made the point that hundreds more jobs would be created by projects yet to start.

The Provincial Development Unit’s head of investment management, Robert Pigou, later said in a statement: “As the administrators of the PGF we welcome scrutiny of our work and discussion about the impact the PGF is having in New Zealand’s regions.

“The PGF will create jobs in the regions, but job creation does not happen overnight. An expectation otherwise fails to appreciate and understand the fundamentals of project delivery and the fact that work takes time to scale-up. 

“Funding is announced in principle, after which contracts are negotiated and applicants work to secure their co-funding requirements. In some cases this may take up to six months. Only then will the project receive any funding from the PGF. 

“The Provincial Development Unit is proactively releasing information about the work we are doing, including key measurements like jobs created. These figures are updated as we receive new information and analysis – for example as projects ramp up delivery. We caution against the selective interpretation of this data without taking into account wider context.

“The PGF is supporting long term projects and developments and therefore it will take some time to understand the impact the PGF will have on employment outcomes. Evaluation of the PGF will include economic growth and the number of direct and indirect jobs created.”

Nonetheless, Goldsmith accuses Jones of being “elusive,” saying it had taken endless questioning by National to “penetrate the layers of Government obfuscation”.

“Mr Jones’ claims become more fanciful every time he speaks.

“Prior to Christmas he claimed 4000 jobs had been created as a direct result of the PGF. A day later that had jumped to 9000. In reality, the Fund is as shambolic as KiwiBuild.”

For more on the PGF and KiwiBuild, see this opinion piece Jenée Tibshraeny wrote over the weekend on how politicking distorts how progress on government policy is measured.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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31 Comments

Rather fund this than landlords via WFF.

Lucky that we are doing both. A double whammy.

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So as expected its a huge re-election bribe that will be seriously mis-spent by the obviously incompetent Minister.

At the moment they failing at the easy bit... spending other peoples money. Lets hope they keep it up!

Quite interesting how they are failing. Its almost like turn up at their door with an idea and if you have a pulse they'll hand you a wheel barrow full of money.

So for all the criticism of central planning it seems to have done a better job in some ways than the lolly scramble we have right now :(

For what its worth,10000 kiwi build homes,may be built in the future.

Can't believe we're paying for this :(

If the last lot had actually done something, other than deny and fling the doors open wide, then maybe I for one wouldn’t have had to change my voting preference.

If either party did anything about the cause not the symptoms that would be best. We just flip flop from incompetence to a different kind of incompetence. Giving the other team a go rather than voting for legit change probably isn’t going to help.

This government are a Comedy Club act!

MBIE is a broken and badly mismanaged ministry that lost credibility a long time ago. Why would anyone believe what they say?

More and more ppl will, if not already have started, to associate democracy with the followings day by day

incompetent
unaccountable
directionlessness
nonstrategic
slow
showmanship
feminism
political correctness
etc.....

Democracy is a reflection of the voters and sadly enough, that list is a fairly ok description of a sufficient amount of voters.

Students and generation beneficiaries (normal ppl just do not want to work!!!!) should be excluded from the voting base.

This small move will fix lots of things ~~~~~~

Yes, disenfranchise a huge amount of the younger generation, that'll work well. Perhaps we should restrict voting to citizens first.

Only landlords should be allowed to vote...

Sure, so long as we add into the mix that old addage "No taxation without representation".. so landlords could only vote to tax themselves.. :)

Haha fair play, that would really bring about a housing crash!

You have zero chance of excluding both students and pensioners from voting.

Perhaps we should replace democracy with people in uniforms holding guns and driving tanks over the top of a pile of murdered student protestors?

50% may agree with you on feminism. Certainly noticeable how autocratic govts are always created by males although occasionally they are inherited by female members of the dynasty (Indira Ghandi).
Compared with the slowness and failed stategic policies of say Spain's Franco and most democracies look good.
And for showmanship very few democratic leaders can compare with Hitler, Gadaffi, Hussein.
Incompetence - it takes an autocratic ruler with control of the media for mega-death - Stalin's destruction of his senior army officiers before WW2 cost his country millions of deaths and the record holder for man made disaster was Mao's great leap forward - whether over 45million died because he deliberately wanted to kill anyone who had ever owned land in the past or whether it was just an accident caused by officials too frightened to tell him what was happening in rural China is still being debated by historians.

People associate the current COL with these adjectives, not democracy

Goldsmith is tweeting out Fake News saying "after one year, the actual number is 54."
1)The Provincial Growth Fund opened for business on 23 February 2018 so how can you have figures after one year?
2) Barry Soper ZB said it takes time for these things to "spud in" and Goldsmith should have waited another year for more accurate stats.

1) who cares.. 11months / 12 months either way its stuff all output.

2) goldsmith isn't there to be nice.. he's there to point out the govt's failings.. and he's being far more effective than they are :)

Goldsmith hasn't provided any source data or dates. It's makes a big difference don't you think?

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Jones is an political idiot, like most of his colleagues. He's got grand intentions but is like most of them they're just failed real lifers. Do not expect much (anything) from central government in this country. It is as dysfunctional as the rest of us, & looking at our families & communities across the board, that's pretty dysfunctional. We are part of a dominant culture in decline & we are showcasing all the usual symptoms - poor relationships, selfishness, greed, pity, poor parenting skills, laziness, look after yourself Joe attitudes across a majority of sub sections of our society. We're even teaching shit. The Maori's can't believe their luck as we squirm & apologise for our dastardly misdeeds, which weren't anywhere near as horrific & cruel as life was before the Europeans arrived. There you were killed if you're lucky, enslaved if you weren't & eaten if with gusto at times. You know, we've still got a pretty good thing going here (in NZ Inc) we just have to learn to be grateful for what we've got. Even the ones with nothing have got something, but again & sadly, they're blind to it from all angles. We really do need some great leadership now more than ever, but now more than ever, it will not show up because (why?) it's not welcome here anymore. We're being governed by a bunch of PC fools! And there's another generation coming. God help us!

Mr "All Hat and No Cattle" Mr Shane Jones everyone!

Too busy stopping cameras on commercial fishing boats to do anything else...

Give Shane a break - at least he is in positive territory. "The Government has spent about $236 million putting more than 41,700 students into fees-free tertiary education, but total student numbers have fallen slightly compared to a year ago."

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=1...

Middle class welfare. It was their highest priority on attaining power; NZ really doesn't need more pizza flippers with degrees in soft social sciences and the arts.
Take a subject that logically ought to be highest priority for a Labout govt: Prof Stringer identified widespread work exploitation in 2016. We all knew there was some but she proved it was widespread. Nobody has challenged her report. So what has the govt done? It has expressed a desire to up its inspectors from under 30 to maybe over but only when another consultative report has been completed.
It is time Jacinda renamed her party from 'Labour' to 'the PC with kindness party'.

Education is a worthwhile thing for a country to invest in and it's senseless to heavily indebt young people as a requirement to enter the workforce.

That said, the combination of this with the equally senseless drive to run all our universities and educational institutes first and foremost as a business is a poor one. It results in degree inflation and grade inflation (as academics are pressured to pass valuable paying "customers" who should not be passed). Running everything as a business rather than as a place of research and education for those who can cut it only serves to reduce the perceived value of our institutions - as seen, perhaps in their falling rankings. University should be difficult - you're there to master an area of knowledge while gaining the ability to research and apply critical analysis effectively.

Personally, I reckon we should take a leaf out of the likes of Germany's book, get rid of the obsession with everyone having to attend university - including those who are not suited to it - and rather than lowering standards to admit those then providing remedial education to address gaps that should have been covered by primary and secondary schooling, emphasise alternative paths - technical institutes, apprenticeships etc. Or paths directly from high school into employment, with companies taking more of the training load as they once did, rather than making a piece of paper a prerequisite.

Just as well its not me in power as I'd dump whole departments, MBIE being one of them!