Shane Jones admits spending of $3b Provincial Growth Fund has been too slow

Jessica Mutch McKay
Source: 1News

Economic Development Minister Shane Jones was grilled today by a Parliamentary Committee about why only a fraction of the $3 billion Provincial Growth Fund is making its way into bank accounts. 

About $1.8 billion has been put into projects from the Provincial Growth Fund. However, it is still short of the thousands of jobs promised. 

Figures obtained by 1 NEWS show the number of full time jobs created by the fund has increased from 272 in February to more than 600. 

The total number of jobs, which include part time and work created by tree planting, has increased from 562 four months ago to 884. 

Mr Jones said he was not satisfied with that number. 

Mr Jones was also grilled today over why $1.8 billion had been spent, but only $60 million had made it into bank accounts. 

He said that amount did not take into account funding that had gone into other Government agencies such as KiwiRail and NZTA. Instead the figure was closer to $300 million that had been given out. 

"One of the great challenges of this Provincial Growth Fund is the pace at which the bureaucracy moves and the velocity at which the money goes around," Mr Jones said. 

National's Paul Goldsmith labeled Mr Jones as being "quick with the press statement, very quick with the photo op, but very slow at handing over the cash".

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern admitted today she generally tells Mr Jones "to tone himself down all of the time".

"Sometimes, generally, Minister Jones uses language that I generally wouldn't pick," she said.