Saturday, September 8, 2018

Bob Edlin: So how did the politicians dish out our money this week? Let’s check it out…

Point of Order has been keeping an eye on how taxpayers’ money has been spent – or given away – by the Ardern Government over the past week.
Ministers typically get a warm glow from announcing spending decisions, grants or the establishment of new troughs within the authority of their portfolios.
Here’s what our check of their press statements shows they announced in the past week…
Minister announces additional $13.7 million to rebuild Redcliffs School
Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced a further $13.7 million will be invested to relocate and rebuild Redcliffs School in Christchurch. This is a part of the $332m announced in Budget 2018 to support school infrastructure.
$58m for research supporting environmental, economic, social outcomes
Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods released the revised 2019-2021 Endeavour Fund Investment Plan, with new investment signals to support the Government’s aim of transitioning to a more sustainable economy. The fund will invest $58m of new annual funding between 2019 and 2021.
 New Zealand announces $10m Pacific broadcasting expansion, support for Pacific journalism
Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced plans for an enhanced free-to-air Pasifika TV service. The expanded Pacific Cooperation Broadcasting Ltd service, valued at $10m over three years, will include a dedicated Pasifika TV channel with New Zealand content, improving both quality and access for free-to-air broadcasters across the region.
 NZ to provide $9m support for Pacific education
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a $9m package to make it easier for Pacific students to access education through high-speed internet connectivity. The package includes a $5m project to support teachers to deliver an interactive e-learning science curriculum for year 10 students in Samoa, Vanuatu, Cook Islands and Solomon Islands.
Health and safety scholarships will help make Kiwi workplaces safer
Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway announced the establishment of an annual Scholarship Programme by the Health and Safety Association of New Zealand to build the capability and capacity of New Zealand’s professional health and safety workforce. Scholars can enter full or part-time tertiary study and receive up to $5000 a year for up to two years, gaining practical experience and mentoring.
Developing jobs, transport and business together in Tairawhiti
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the Government is partnering with the Tairāwhiti region on opportunities to develop jobs, transport and businesses with  $152.7m through the Provincial Growth Fund. Projects announced so far include investments of:
  • $137m to unlock Tairāwhiti’s economic potential through stronger, safer and more resilient transport connections
  • $13.3m for tourism projects to attract more visitors to the region
  • $1.3m for forestry projects, including skills training for young people
  • over $1m for projects in the food and beverage sector.
Here’s the full list of projects included in the announcement –
Project Description PGF Funding
Tairāwhiti Roading Package Package of upgrades to the roading network across the Gisborne region Up to $137m
Mt Titirangi – Puhi Kai Iti Connection To build ‘Titirangi – Puhi Kai iti’ landscape and facilities, including a new wananga, and a bridge other facilities at the Cooks Landing Site Up to $6.1m
Gisborne Airport Redevelopment of the Gisborne Airport terminal building and supporting infrastructure $5.5m
Cooks Landing Restoration Restoration of the Cook Landing Site (CLS) National Historic Reserve $1.6m
New Zealand Macadamia Industry Development Project Growing macadamia on Maori land for export $995,000
Tairāwhiti Rail Feasibility Study Feasibility study for a rail tourism venture, including an extended Gisborne-Napier rail cycleway, and use of the Wairoa to Gisborne line for freight purposes (joint study) Up to $600,000
Far East Sawmill To recommission and improve a Gisborne mill site $500,000
Manaia Forestry Skills Training (Priority) Feasibility study to establish a ManaiaSAFE Forestry School $301,000
Regional Action Plan Programme Manager The Programme Manager role has been both valuable and crucial to coordination and reporting on project progress, and coordinating effort in order to accelerate the region’s growth. $90,000
Tairāwhiti Honey Strategy Development of a Tairāwhiti Manuka Honey strategy $40,000
Water and Waste Management Application for a  feasibility study  on a water recycling plant and waste management initiative $30,000
Suffrage125 community fund announced
Acting Minister for Women Eugenie Sage announced 42 successful applicants for the Suffrage 125 Community Fund. The fund’s projects commemorate the 125th anniversary of universal suffrage in New Zealand from $300,000 funding in Budget 2018. The Canterbury University’s Feminist Society received $1500 from the fund. Priorities for the fund were to celebrate the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage, encourage participation, support diversity and empower young people.

Bob Edlin is a veteran journalist and editor for the Point of Order blog HERE.

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