24 May 2020

Provincial Growth Fund to spend $600m to help economy recover

11:18 am on 24 May 2020

The Provincial Growth Fund will bring forward $600 million of spending for jobs with more immediate benefits, to help the economy recover.

 Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones speaks to media during a press conference on Budget 2020 delivery day at Parliament May 14, 2020 in Wellington, New Zealand.

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones. Photo: Pool / Hagen Hopkins / Getty Images

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones said the refocussed goals were to create jobs by getting projects underway as fast as possible, and maintaining visibility in the regions.

Today, he announced $100 million for fencing waterways, planting riverbanks, and water storage for stock.

"Some farmers wish to protect their waterways but find the costs of fencing prohibitive in the short term. Regional councils provide some support for fencing which the PGF can augment by contracting local firms to redeploy workers to undertake the work," Jones said.

"Fencing, planting and stock water reticulation would be undertaken only on land where owners wish to have their waterways fenced and could be done in a timely way."

Up to $70 million was available for upgrades to marae, town halls, Pasifika churches and war memorials.

"Renovating these buildings will provide work for local tradies and contractors while regular building and repair work is on hold," Jones said.

He said it was also an opportunity to target Māori, Pasifika and other vulnerable workers who had not been able to secure contracts during the pandemic.

The proposed funding would cover the salaries of these workers.

Road and rail upgrades would net another $60 million, creating about 800 jobs in the central North Island and the top of the South Island.

"We want regional Kiwis to have confidence that our social and economic recovery is underway," he said.

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