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Jones plucking numbers out of thin air

Paul Goldsmith - Economic and Regional Development

14 August 2018

Shane Jones has only added to the questions over the extra $240 million ear-marked for his tree-planting scheme by claiming a $3 billion benefit to the economy while providing no details, National’s Regional Economic Development spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.

“The Regional Economic Development Minister told New Zealanders today that the ‘One Billion Trees’ scheme would generate ‘almost $3 billion of economic upside’ and create 2,000 jobs in the regions.

“But he then refused to back that up, going on a convoluted tear about a ‘full gamut of policies’ which seem to exist only in his head.

“Meanwhile the NZ First dowry continues to blow out.

“So far, the Government has committed $485 million to planting trees in regions where there is currently little economic rationale for such a strategy and where commercial foresters haven’t seen the need to expand.

“This is a low-wattage way to burn through public funds and equates to 16 per cent of the total amount to be spent by Mr Jones’ Provincial Growth Fund.

“New Zealanders also won’t be reassured by Mr Jones’ refusal to release details of tree-planting deal with the Ngati Hine Forestry Trust in the far North.

“This is an agreement tied to people with close links to NZ First who bragged in a newsletter about how generous the terms of the deal were to them.

“The public deserves better than this. A slush fund for NZ First may have helped secure its support for the Labour-led coalition but there’s little sign it provides genuine benefits to New Zealand.”

ends

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