Political pundit slams Provincial Growth Fund as 'a disaster', 'giant slush fund' after marae upgrade announcement falls short on delivering jobs

A political pundit is criticising the Government's Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) after revelations one of its projects has fallen short on delivering promised jobs.

Earlier this week, Newshub revealed with half of the $100 million earmarked to upgrade marae across the country already spent - only 5 percent of the promised 3000 jobs have been created. 

Previously overseen by NZ First MP Shane Jones in the last Coalition Government, the marae upgrade was seen as the last hurrah of the $3 billion PGF.

Political commentator Ben Thomas told Magic Talk's Sunday Cafe the PGF was "a disaster".

"It was a giant slush fund for Shane Jones," he told host Mel Homer. "It just shows it turns out we have processes for a reason."

He noted while there was nothing wrong with funding marae, he believed the process was flawed and "open to abuse". But appearing on Magic Talk with Thomas, former NZ First MP Jenny Marcroft disagreed.

"What happened with the PGF, my understanding, is that in terms of the marae funding… it took quite a period of time to process all those applications before they could be announced," she said.

Ben Thomas.
Ben Thomas. Photo credit: File/Newshub Nation.

"Did these marae need it? Absolutely - they are no less value as a community asset than any town hall, museum, or art gallery in any other town."

National leader Judith Collins has previously said it was "extraordinarily arrogant" to splash PGF cash on marae.