5 Feb 2019

Provincial Growth Fund job creation 'complete rubbish' - National MP Paul Goldsmith

10:55 am on 5 February 2019

The government is rejecting National Party figures showing the Provincial Growth Fund has created just 54 jobs to date and spent just 3.4 percent of the funding allocated to it.

Paul Goldsmith, left, and Shane Jones.

Paul Goldsmith, left, and Shane Jones. Photo: RNZ

The figures released by the National Party showed $26.6 million from the $3 billion fund has been paid out so far, funding 54 projects.

National Party spokesperson for economic and regional development Paul Goldsmith told Morning Report the government's delivery is modest.

He said the figures from late last year were from the answers of hundreds of written questions posed by National to Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones.

"We've been asking over a very long period of time, okay, so what's actually happened, how many jobs have actually been created now.

"We got all sorts of wild and wonderful answers in the House late last year, (Shane Jones) said 'oh, 9000 jobs' but that's all just complete rubbish."

Mr Goldsmith said he doubted the logic used by the minister.

"We've heard from the government that this is the year of delivery and what we're saying is that so far, that delivery is modest."

But Shane Jones said the projects that were yet to start would create hundreds or many thousands of jobs.

"As we talk this morning, [there is] approximately 20 in just one project, 20 jobs have been created in respect of the Ruapehu ski lift and as I said, it's taking time to actually roll out."

He said it would take several months to climb up to the figures.

"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."

The public should be reassured, he said.

"This is a substantial amount of pūtea (money) and we're not ... handing it out and planning out jobs until such time that the necessary standards of compliance have been attended to."

He said it has been very difficult to get the information out of Shane Jones' office.

"He's been shovelling it out the door in terms of annoucements, but a lot of those are just something that somebody has cooked up the day before, they're very ill thought through."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Morning Report also rubbished the National Party numbers, saying $97m had been invested in 37 projects across Northland - everything from a mountainbiking trail to improving airport infrastructure.

Some of the projects would take some time "to gear up", she said, but one example that had just been announced for Northland was a roading project in Kaipara where 72 percent of roads are not sealed.

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