12 Feb 2015

Review finds PGPs now working well

1:59 pm on 12 February 2015

A review of the Government's Primary Growth Partnership research funding programme says while it got off to an unsteady start it is now showing encouraging results.

The Government has approved two new primary growth research partnerships, with the deer and red meat industries.

Deer and red meat industries are among those that have benefitted from the PGP programme. Photo: 123RF

The Office of the Auditor General carried out the review at the request of Parliament's Primary Production Select Committee, which raised concerns about the programme's management and whether it was achieving its goals.

The Auditor General said the PGP research and innovation programmes were now working well although it was too soon to see any economic benefits.

The audit looked at six programmes and found the Ministry for Primary Industries needed to improve how it recorded its decisions about partnerships and how they fitted in with the PGP objectives.

It also said MPI must ensure the system it was creating to measure programmes' progress was reliable and the results were simple to understand.

The Government has committed $322 million so far to 18 PGP programmes' which it sees as contributing to its goal of doubling the value of exports by 2025.

Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy said he was pleased with the findings that PGP was going well and had improved since it began in 2009.

MPI deputy director-general sector partnerships and programmes, Ben Dalton, agreed the start of the PGP was not smooth, but the review gives MPI assurance that it was on the right track.

"We're quite pleased with the outcome from the review. It highlighted that we had made some significant advancements in the way in which the programme operates and the way in which it's managed."

However Labour's Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O'Connor, who is a critic of the funding scheme, said it was not good enough that the ministry can't show what it had achieved.

He said a large number of proposals had been approved without knowing whether they would make more money than business as usual.

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