Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


Final sign-off for Regional Development Fund

Jane Patterson, Political Editor

Cabinet has given the final sign-off for the billion-dollar a year Regional Development Fund, and the checks and balances to be put in place for any money allocated.

The fund will be overseen by Shane Jones. Photo: RNZ/Lois Williams

The contestable fund was part of the coalition deal between Labour and New Zealand First and will be overseen by the minister Shane Jones.

Proposals from around the country have been coming in thick and fast, and they will start to be considered once the system is in place.

The details of how that will look will be announced by Mr Jones and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in Gisborne on Friday.

The coalition agreement detailed a number of initiatives including "significant investment" in regional rail, planting 100 million trees as part of the "Billion Trees Planting Programme", and giving Winston Peter's Northport proposal "serious consideration".

It's understood there will be a three-tiered system.

At the bottom will be regional initiatives costing less than $1 million, likely to be administered under the same system as under National - by senior regional officers and senior public servants across several key agencies.

Next would be larger projects in sectors like tourism, aquaculture and forestry, including the billion tree planting programme.

At the top level would be major infrastructure projects like broadband, road and rail, that would all need Cabinet sign-off, as would any projects costing more than $20 million.

There will be a great level of scrutiny on how this money is spent, so the government will want to ensure any sizeable bids are considered independently of the minister.

Therefore an advisory board is likely to be established within the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, made up of a mix of people from the private and public sectors.

That board would likely consider any proposal costing between $1 million and $20 million.

The previous National government has set aside $44 million for regional development, and Mr Jones is expected to announce on Friday that money, and more, will be made available for projects within the fund.

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Gordon Campbell On Labour’s Timidity:

What an odd post-Cabinet press conference that was yesterday, from PM Jacinda Ardern and Finance Minister Grant Robertson ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Prevailing Media Narratives About The Govt Coalition

The media reports the facts…. but that’s not the end of it, and nor should it be. It also marshals those facts and creates a story from them, usually one with a moral that’s implied or explicit. After six months though, it is still unclear just what the dominant media narrative is of the coalition government. Is it Idealistic But Impractical? Is its Heart in the Right Place, but is it Taking On Too Much? Is the coalition proving to be Fractious And Unstable, or is it Surprisingly Adept at Keeping Its Inherent Rifts Out of the Public Eye? More>>

RNZ Explainer: Why You Should Care About Cambridge Analytica

Facebook's shares have lost billions of dollars in value after something to do with data used by Cambridge Analytica. Confused? Here's what it means, and what could come next...More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The (Looming) Nurses’ Strike

It is (almost) possible to feel a bit sorry for the DHB negotiators engaged in the current nurses pay round. Come next Monday there’s every sign that nurses will resoundingly reject the pay offer the DHBs have put on the table, as being totally inadequate...More>>

Gordon Campbell: On A Trade War With China

As things currently stand, the White House has NOT included New Zealand on its list of allies whose steel and aluminium exports to the US will be exempted from US President Donald Trump’s recent hike in tariffs. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Credibility In Politics

Credibility is always such a fickle, unstable element in politics. You know it when you see it, though. More>>

Video And Report: Cory Doctorow Talks Machine Learning And Big Data

International internet and digital technology commentator Cory Doctorow talked about machine learning and big data at the Privacy Commissioner’s PrivacyLive event on 13 March 2018 in Wellington. More>>