Jobs created by provincial growth fund may not be quite what they seem

Source: 1News

The $3 billion provincial growth fund might have created more than 500 jobs but figures obtained by 1 NEWS show those jobs may not be quite what they seem.

A total of 562 jobs have been created through more than 60 projects. Of that, 272 are full time jobs, 193 are part time jobs, 52 come from the one billion trees programme, meaning some are trainee jobs. Officials can't say whether the remaining 45 are full time jobs or not. 

Some of the jobs might not even be new and may be taken up by local contractors on a short term basis.

Regional Economic Minister Shane Jones said that he wanted "to be a lot more ambitious of the 500-600 jobs that are there, but in defence of the programme, I want people to understand up to $1.3 billion has gone into infrastructure and forestry".

Mr Jones went on to say: "I am cursed by the fact that infrastructure projects do take a long time to roll out."

Under the provincial growth fund a full time job means someone working more than 30 hours a week, and officials are not able to say how many jobs are done by contractors, which would mean it was not a new job created by the growth fund. 

National's Paul Goldsmith says he just wanted to know "what we are getting for the $3 billion". 

Mr Jones told 1 NEWS: "If there are contractors receiving money to stand up projects that is good, those contractors... live locally, those contractors employ other people but most importantly those projects will lay a base for industries to grow and flourish".

"That is what the fund was created to do."

He did not think it was remiss to not be able to say whether contractors were included in the 562 jobs.

"My real outcome is to ensure that a region is endowed with better infrastructure and a better platform to be able to grow the number of people they are going to need."