The Provincial Development Unit is working through applications and projects to see where Provincial Growth Fund money can be repurposed for initiatives deemed more critical to fighting the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says.
“We need to be throwing everything we have at our disposal at keeping Kiwi businesses going, workers in jobs and regional economies afloat and viable. If Provincial Growth Fund money is not going out the door through conventional projects then it needs to be repurposed for other initiatives,” Shane Jones said.
“Ministers will soon consider whether unallocated funds should be redirected into regional projects which will have an almost immediate impact in line with the Government’s COVID-19 economic response. Projects that can provide initial economic support over the next two to six months and aid economic recovery longer term will be prioritised.”
PDU officials are contacting applicants and fund recipients to gather information on which projects will be able to continue despite the impacts of COVID-19, be scaled up or accelerated, be refined so they more usefully contribute to the Government’s COVID-19 response, or be deferred or terminated.
Ministers will receive advice about which projects could be prioritised. The criteria for prioritisation includes:
· Immediate support for the redeployment of displaced employees into critical sectors including horticulture and manufacturing in the immediate term, and later through public works activities
· National programmes delivered across all regions that will provide support for employment and community resilience into the longer term, such as apprenticeships
· Business investments that will generate job creation opportunities in the short term and support the rebuild of the economy beyond the recovery, particularly in the primary sector and manufacturing
· Infrastructure investments under $10 million that will support employment in the short term and strengthen fundamental infrastructure in surge regions.
The PGF will be busier than ever over the next weeks and months as it rolls out more financial support for the regions, including some of the key projects within the $100m worker redeployment package announced last month.
Media contact: Lucy Bennett – 021 822 435