The Government may be in denial over the realities of Shane Jones’ slush fund, but official figures show so far it has hired two bureaucrats for every new job created, National’s Economic and Regional Development spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.
“After a year in operation, Government figures show 118 civil servants have been employed to administer the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF), with most based in Wellington. Only 54 actual jobs have been created so far – a run rate of less than 0.5 FTE for each official.
“Both Mr Jones and the Prime Minister have attacked the credibility of the numbers, which is ironic because the data is from their own officials in response to questions from National.
“It is the PGF Minister who is quickly losing credibility. He’s the master of the photo op but delivery so far has been weak.
“New Zealanders deserve straight answers from Mr Jones, given he has responsibility for $3 billion of taxpayers’ money. Instead, he shrugs and makes vague promises that jobs may materialise down the track.
“MBIE has responded – no doubt under pressure from the Beehive – by claiming upwards of 10,000 new jobs might result from the PGF’s growing catalogue of grants and soft loans. It was unable to offer an exact figure of how many jobs have been created. Under this Government, the total number of public servants has climbed more than 5 per cent.
“The Government is spending money like it just won Lotto but in reality, it’s gambling with the taxes of hardworking New Zealanders. It is adding new taxes and driving up the cost of living with poor policies and promising more to come.
“National believes Kiwis should keep more of what they earn. We favour sensible economic policies that nurture New Zealand’s economic growth, create more jobs and help lift all our communities.”