The Provincial Growth Fund gets a lot of publicity but the results are a long way from matching the rhetoric:
An answer to a written question from National Regional Development spokesperson Chris Bishop reveals 1922 people are employed by PGF projects – and of that, just 616 are full-time jobs.
So far, $297.4 million has been spent so far on PGF projects. That’s $484,000 per full-time job, excluding those part-time jobs.
Jones insists infrastructure projects like roads and rail will take years to build, however in the long-term they’ll create jobs and further investment and increase confidence in the regions. . .
Roads? We’re paying higher fuel taxes but that money is going on public transport in Auckland not much-needed upgrades to roads in the provinces.
And the bus and rail not roads policy is costing jobs as businesses finishing roading projects have no more work ahead of them.
Rail? That’s a very limited option that doesn’t go very far from routes taken by State Highway 1.
While politicians squabble over whether enough jobs are being created in the regions, the PGF is managing to create well-paid jobs here in Wellington.
The unit in charge of the fund’s doubled in size over the past year. There are now 116 employees. And 71 of them earn a salary of more than $100,000.
That’s around one job in Wellington for fewer than 20, full and part time in the provinces.
David Farrar calls the number of jobs created pitiful:
By comparison in 2016/17 there were 137,000 new jobs created which was 66 new jobs every working hour.
So Shane Jones has spent $300 million over two years and created what was basically one day of job growth under National!
New and growing businesses creating more jobs ought to be applauded, but in some areas the problem isn’t no jobs, it’s a shortage of workers for the jobs in already established businesses.
Employers in dairying, horticulture and hospitality are struggling to find staff willing and able to fill their vacancies.
The provinces would get more value from initiatives that would provide employable workers than they’re getting from the money scattered through the PGF.