Mike Hosking: PGF another incompetent failure by Government

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Thu, 6 Aug 2020, 4:55PM
(Photo / Getty)

Mike Hosking: PGF another incompetent failure by Government

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Thu, 6 Aug 2020, 4:55PM

Two major polices, one I liked, one I didn’t, yet both of them failed and seemingly failed miserably.

I called KiwiBuild bluff in October and November of 2017 before the government had even been formed. Even an amateur could see they were never going to build those houses in those numbers.

It’s a policy that should haunt them forever, it sums up in a nutshell just how utterly out of touch with the market they were.

And the other policy? The Provincial Growth Fund, a laudable idea that now officially has been busted with this week’s auditor general’s report

The signs were there all along sadly, the numbers they didn’t have, the money that hadn’t gone out the door, the jobs that didn’t actually eventuate.

But unlike KiwiBuild, there was little reason for it to fail other than the one that did it in: incompetence. 

The concept of money into the regions is not a bad one. The concept of boosting forgotten areas is fine. And no one has a cheque book like a government to do at times what the market is reluctant to.

But even Shane Jones who has been on this programme numerous times has known and admitted that he’s had trouble, he’s been open about the lack of stats.

The longer term projects he’s been right about, some of them take time to get up and running ,some need a report or scoping study to work out how they’re going to unfold, and he’s been open about paper work and bureaucracy.

But as much sympathy as you might want to award him, and I do, the cold hard facts can’t be avoided. $3 billion is an astonishing amount of money to do so little with.

And in that realisation is the realisation of the dangers of government and other people’s money. When it’s not yours, you get loose, fast.

When it’s not yours, you think nothing of spending $30 million on Lake Onslow, which wasn’t the PGF but stupid never the less. It’s already had a report written about it and a whole industry telling you it’s too expensive and not worth it, and yet you still go ahead.

You get trapped by the headlines of a jobs machine, the glare of the spotlight at a whole bunch of announcements and press releases and turning of the sod ceremonies. And yet three years on, you end up telling us there are more than 10,000 jobs when in reality there aren’t and the auditor general flushes you out

Delivery, delivery, delivery. This government even named a year for it, and yet their two biggest calling cards lie in tatters.