Exclusive: Provincial Growth Fund has created just 54 jobs

Newshub can reveal the Government's Provincial Growth Fund (PGF), designed to create jobs and boost the regions, has only created 54 jobs and spent just $26.6 million of its $3 billion.

Even with just 3.4 percent of the funding paid out, each job is costing the Government about $484,000.

Paul Goldsmith, National's spokesperson for Economic Development, was scathing.

"Despite all the hoop-la, the press releases, the high-vis jackets, the tens of millions of dollars, what have we got for it so far? Fifty-four jobs."

"I accept that the projects are going to take a while to fully establish, but Paul is exaggerating," was Shane Jones's response.

The Regional Economic Development Minister find himself tangled up in the Government's own red tape.

"Despite my heroic rhetoric, it is quite a red tape process," he says. 

The 'go-slow' doesn't fit well with the Prime Minister, who has labelled 2019 her year of delivery.

Last year at Waitangi, Jacinda Ardern pledged to address Māori inequality in prisons, asking media to "hold us to account".

"So long as that exists, we have failed in our partnership," she said.

On Monday she "absolutely" denied her Government has failed in its relationship with Māori - but by her own measure, it arguably has.

Māori make up 15 percent of the New Zealand population, but in our prisons, 51 percent of the population is Māori.

That statistic hasn't changed since Ms Ardern became Prime Minister - in fact it's slightly worse, up 1 percent since September 2017.

"We're in the first year," says Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis. "You've got to give us a chance, we've started to reduce the prison population."

The Government has a target to reduce overall prison population, but nothing targeted at Māori - unless you count Mr Davis' remark that he wants a "zero Māori prison population".

"We don't want anyone in prison, no one wants anyone in prison," added Ms Ardern.

The Government's already hard-to-reach targets seem to be getting harder by the minute.