Revealed: Provincial Growth Fund costing $484k per full-time job

National is questioning the value of the Government's Provincial Growth Fund (PGF), saying it's not delivering enough jobs for the money that's being spent.

It's been more than two years of the coalition Government and the $3 billion PGF has created just 616 full-time jobs.

The Opposition says it's spraying cash, costing hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars for each job created.

But the minister in charge - Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones - insists it's about more than just jobs.

Recycled plastic, an airport, and a rat trap. These are some of the things paid for by Jones' $3b PGF. It's a pot of money he has big ambitions for.

"To endow our regions with infrastructure. To bring the nephs into the world of light," he says.

And into the world of light he hopes to bring and employ multitudes.

"Once the projects are up and running the jobs figure will be above 10,000," he says.

But there's some way to go yet.

An answer to a written question from National Regional Development spokesperson Chris Bishop reveals 1922 people are employed by PGF projects - and of that, just 616 are full-time jobs.

So far, $297.4 million has been spent so far on PGF projects. That's $484,000 per full-time job, excluding those part-time jobs.

Jones insists infrastructure projects like roads and rail will take years to build, however in the long-term they'll create jobs and further investment and increase confidence in the regions.

"Six-hundred is an important figure but over the life of the fund and when the long-term projects are stood up it'll be many thousands more than that," he says.

"We could do a lot more in the jobs space but I wouldn't catastrophise it."

However Bishop calls it "a giant waste of money".

"There is far better use of $280m than the creation of 616 jobs," he told Newshub.

"[It's] quite extraordinary wastage from a Government that is a taskmaster at wasting money."

Despite questions over the fund's impact, when Newshub asks people in the provinces about the PGF, the response tends to be positive.

"It's a wonderful idea," one person told Newshub.

"It's probably gonna be pretty good if you can get it off the ground," another said.

While politicians squabble over whether enough jobs are being created in the regions, the PGF is managing to create well-paid jobs here in Wellington.

The unit in charge of the fund's doubled in size over the past year. There are now 116 employees. And 71 of them earn a salary of more than $100,000.