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Revelations that Provincial Growth Fund officials have been filling out forms for businesses shows everything that’s wrong with Shane Jones’ slush fund, National’s Regional Development spokesperson Chris Bishop says.

“A businessman in Southland has come forward and said that he was contacted by the PGF offering a cash injection as they’d overspent in Northland and needed to ‘even up the balance’.

“The man was visited by two officials who told him that the $480,000 he needed for new equipment wasn’t enough and he should ask for more.

“He was then told that nobody in Northland was worried about taking PGF money, he shouldn’t worry about paying it back and that they might not even be back to check up on how it had been spent.

“The officials then offered to fill in the application form for him.

“This sort of behaviour from Government officials is wrong and highlights everything that is wrong with the PGF. It’s clear they’re under huge pressure from Minister Shane Jones to spend up large.

“Most New Zealanders would be staggered to discover PGF officials are filling out forms and telling people to apply for more money.

“The admission from officials that Northland has been prioritised is as we’ve long suspected and has now been proven. 

“This begs the question of how many other grants have been given, not on the basis of a clear business case, but on the back of officials desperately trying to shovel money out the door.

“Jacinda Ardern has some serious questions to ask of Shane Jones, but if recent history is anything to go by, she’ll be too scared because he belongs to NZ First.”

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