Shane Jones is adamant that the Provincial Growth Fund is being spent in areas that need it most.
Figures compiled by Newstalk ZB show the West Coast and Gisborne are receiving the lion's share of the $3 billion fund.
Poorer regions, like Northland and Manawatu-Whanganui, are receiving far less.
The Regional Development Minister told Mike Hosking that's because the fund is allocated, based on industry need.
"Industry will invest but they have told us: 'we are not going to put any more dough into these areas like the East Cape and the East Coast unless basic infrastructure is improved'. The market can't deliver it and we are."