Auditor-General critical of Provincial Growth Fund

Yesterday morning Shane Jones promoted job creation due to the Provinciakl Growth Fun – see Questionable Provincial Growth Fund job claims.

Later in the day the Auditor-General strongly criticised the PGF:

Stuff: Auditor-General takes Provincial Growth Fund’s ‘fund within a fund’ to task

The Government’s Provincial Growth Fund has been savaged by the Auditor-General for a lack of transparency, lacklustre conflict management and operating a “fund within a fund”.

The Auditor-General, Parliament’s financial watchdog, was specifically critical of a $30 million spend, authorised by Cabinet for “manifesto commitments to the regions”.

That funding was approved soon after the fund was established, and soon grew to $85m. The Auditor-General queried why certain projects were funded from this specific pot of money.

“It was not always clear from the documentation why certain projects were considered for funding from this part of the Fund,” they said.

The report went on to say “it was difficult to find evidence of how projects had fully met the normal criteria for the Fund,” and that, in effect, the “manifesto commitments” pot was “operating as a ‘fund within a fund’”.

The Auditor-General was also highly critical of the transparency of the PGF and the early focus of the fund’s Provincial Development Unit (PDU) on political “deliverables” ahead of the clear purpose of the overall fund, which it said were very broad and so difficult to assess.

“The PDU’s reporting requirements in the first funding agreements were only about ‘deliverables’ (for example, numbers of training courses to be delivered) and not on achieving the Fund’s objectives (for example, the number of trainees getting a job), the report said.

“There is a risk that recipients of this early funding will not report on outcomes without a contractual obligation to do so”.

At the heart of the difficulty is that the PGF was deliberately broadly designed by the Government to fund a wide range of projects. It has mostly involved three Government Ministries – MBIE, The Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Primary Industries.

Because it was set up so quickly, with pressure to get money out of the door, transparency and reporting has not been sufficient, the report said.

This has led political opponents of the fund to label it a “slush fund” design to buy NZ First votes in the regions.

“In the interests of the transparency of the overall process, it is important for the public and Parliament to have better visibility of how all the parts of the Fund operate,” the report said.

Auditor-General: Managing the Provincial Growth Fund

Read the whole report (56 pages)

There is also: 

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9 Comments

  1. Duker

     /  5th August 2020

    So thats all there is ……reporting lines are blurred ?

    Wheres the sizzle ?
    is this it heart of the difficulty is that the PGF was deliberately broadly designed by the Government to fund a wide range of projects
    A wide range of projects is a bad thing ?
    Hell its a lot better than $930 mill ‘given’ to Chorus… or the ‘jobs’ rocket’ for Cycleways projects

    Reply
    • artcroft

       /  5th August 2020

      Yeah, what’s this Auditor generation thingy getting twisted about? A fund within a fund.. sounds like an efficiency to me. And who really cares about oversight anyway. Not real men like Shane. That’s for sure.

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  5th August 2020

        What issues have been raised ? Just because you are clueless doesnt make it something.
        The AG report effectively finds no major problems…not like the inquirery into the Sky City |Convention tender….more dodgy than a sideshow
        “SkyCity got special treatment on talks around the international convention centre after the Prime Minister personally intervened.
        John Key wrote on a briefing page “we should close off the SkyCity angle” before spending $170,000 on ways to fund the centre.”
        Crony Capitalism
        https://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10866376
        “The Auditor General’s report stated Mr Key’s understanding of the casino’s desire for development followed a personal meeting between himself and SkyCity executives. It also followed a later meeting between the casino and his chief-of-staff Wayne Eagleson.

        The Auditor General said neither Mr Key or the casino “can recall the discussion” on May 14, 2009.”
        Couldnt recall….. so many convention centres to have deals with ahead of the official process

        Reply
  2. artcroft

     /  5th August 2020

    Clues? Who needs clues. Not me, that’s why i’m clueless. You know who else needs clues? That Auditor type guy. What’s he mean when he says

    “The PDU’s reporting requirements in the first funding agreements were only about ‘deliverables’ (for example, numbers of training courses to be delivered) and not on achieving the Fund’s objectives (for example, the number of trainees getting a job), the report said.”

    Does this mean when Shane was asked what good his fund was doing he said “well we delivered a course on Maori basket weaving for only 500k.” but failed to omit that exactly no one from the course was able to move onto a career in basket weaving.

    Hey, this clueless taxpayer says whateves

    Reply
    • artcroft

       /  5th August 2020

      But if they need anymore basket weaving tutors I’m available at an hourly rate of $1500.

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  5th August 2020

        Which basket Weaver’s course was that…you had to make it up didn’t you.
        Love to know the specific course where deliverables weren’t right…
        Didn’t know the PGF was a employment agency,..universities turn out graduates …sorry deliverables all the time. Getting a job is up to the graduate
        It’s the biggest damp squib …since Borrowdale and the no rise in unemployment.

        Reply
  3. artcroft

     /  5th August 2020

    “Didn’t know the PGF was a employment agency” That’s strange. Wasn’t that the premise behind the whole shebang. To get the nephs off the couch? Just why did Jacinda hand Shane $3,000,000,000 then? Help me out here.. I’m clueless remember.

    Reply

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