Coronavirus: Shane Jones confirms some Provincial Growth Fund money to be repurposed

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones.
Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones. Photo credit: Newshub

Shane Jones has confirmed some Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) money will likely be repurposed as COVID-19 puts pressure on the Government. 

Jones, the Minister for Regional Economic Development, told Newshub: "If we're not going to get the dough out the door through conventional projects, then the money needs to be re-badged and used in another fashion."

Newshub asked the New Zealand First MP to confirm if that means money from the $3 billion PGF fund could be repurposed, and he said "yes, absolutely". 

Jones added, "A number of the projects have taken a long time to gather momentum and obviously there is no point leaving the pūtea (money) in the bank account while people are in Strugglers Gully at work."

The minister said he's getting a briefing by the end of the week to figure out how much money can be repurposed.

Jones said he has not had any contact with New Zealand First MP Tracey Martin who is currently in self-isolation after coming into contact with Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton who has tested positive for COVID-19. 

"My thoughts are with Tracey and her whānau," Jones said. "She's a sturdy individual."

The Government will announce an economic stimulus package on Tuesday afternoon to help businesses struggling with the fall-out from the coronavirus spread. 

Deputy Prime Minister and New Zealand First leader Winston Peters described the package as "more significant than any other" he's seen worldwide.