Exclusive: Govt's $3b Provincial Growth Fund generates 560 jobs - 'good start' towards 10k promise?

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has told 1 NEWS that 560 jobs have been generated so far by the Provincial Growth Fund.  

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Almost $650 million has been dished out for 229 confirmed projects, but Minister Shane Jones promises many more. Source: 1 NEWS

It comes several weeks after National's Economic and Regional Development spokesperson Paul Goldsmith claimed the fund had only created 54 jobs. 

Mr Jones admits he wasn't tracking the number properly, but says officials have now done a ring-around and are promising regular updates.

"[It's] 10 times larger than the miserable figure that my National opposition character [in] Epsom sulks, Mr Goldsmith was tossing around," he said.  

The Minister says the 560 figure is made up of both part-time and full-time jobs, and does not include contractors, trainees or bureaucrats. 

He described it as "a damn good start", saying he remains committed to the goal of creating 10,000 jobs out of the $3 billion scheme. 

National is still questioning the robustness of the figures, given it's unclear how many jobs are part-time. 

"You'll excuse us for being cynical about Shane Jones and his figures. They're always very slippery," Mr Goldsmith said. 

Of the nearly $1.8 billion committed to the scheme so far, $647 million of funding has been approved across 229 projects.

Northland has received 10 per cent of the total allocation for the regions. 

"Other Ministers did say they are four winds to Aotearoa, not just the Northern wind coming out of your gob," Mr Jones said.