Minginui - the small BOP town the government is pumping millions of dollars into

A small Bay of Plenty town is the latest recipient of Shane Jones' $1 billion provincial growth fund, with the hopes employment rates will rise.

Miniginui has a population of just 300, and an unemployment rate of 80 per cent. 

"Minginui has got all the problems of isolation," says Mr Jones, Regional Economic Development Minister and Forestry Minister.

But he says the small community want to "replant ambition in their young people".

Joining forces with iwi Ngati Whare, the government is putting nearly $6 million into a nursery in the town, allowing it to plant up to one million native seedlings a year.

That's expected to take jobs at the nursery from nine to 90.

"The runanga tell me it's going to change the lives of 90 young, and maybe not so young, people," said Mr Jones.

He wants to use the provincial growth fund to not only create jobs, but also help him reach his goal of planting one billion trees.

In Minginui it's hoped the boost will get more locals employed, up-skilled and even encourage others to move to the town.

Mr Jones says there are many small communities around the country that could benefit from similar projects.  

But the National Party say the fund does not have the right checks and balances.

"They're scrambling around the country finding groups to spend the money on, and like I say, there will be some good projects, but there will be a lot of waste if it's not carefully handled," says National MP Paul Goldsmith.

Mr Jones admits money has already been lost on feasibility studies, and it could happen again.

There's hope a new venture will create around 80 jobs. Source: 1 NEWS



Exclusive: Fresh links revealed between MBIE and private investigation company accused of spying

Fresh links between the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the controversial private investigation company accused of spying have been revealed by 1 NEWS.

Despite the ministry denying working with Thompson and Clark for five years, 1 NEWS has discovered a trail of documents that detail a close relationship.

Three times in five minutes a car was caught driving past Greenpeace's Auckland office, keeping watch.

"We have every reason to believe that the surveillance and spying by Thompson and Clark is ongoing," said Russel Norman, Greenpeace director.

Eight months ago, Greenpeace got a tip-off that controversial private investigators Thompson and Clark were spying on them then passing the details to a government department. So they flipped the camera on them.

On Monday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called on all government departments to stop using information from Thompson and Clark obtained by spying, "because their behaviour around spying and so on is totally inappropriate".

It comes on the back of revelations that state-owned insurance company Southern Repsonse hired Thompson and Clark to spy on insurance claimants from the Christchurch earthquake.

Documents obtained under the Official Information Act show a close relationship between Thompson and Clark and MBIE going back five years.

"When you read these emails, it's amazing how friendly it all is. 'Let's go for a beer. Let's go for a coffee.' There's discussion of skiing together," Mr Norman said.

In 2015, Thompson and Clark began supplying MBIE with weekly intelligence reports it was pulling together for the oil and gas industry on protest groups.

Thompson and Clark then started using MBIE to drum up more work with foreign oil and mining companies.

"Since when is it the government's job to help a spy agency like Thompson and Clark to get new contracts with mining companies?" Mr Norman said.

In the three months to February this year, MBIE admits handling more than 2000 documents and emails relating to Thompson and Clark.

Despite this, MBIE denies having a contractual relationship with Thompson and Clark since 2013.

Thompson and Clark say they don't talk publicly about clients.

And former energy minister Simon Bridges says it's an operational matter.

1 NEWS understands Thompson and Clark work with many government departments.

The State Services Commission is expected to announce tomorrow details around its inquiry into Thompson and Clark's dealings with those government agencies.

1 NEWS has discovered a trail of documents that detail a close relationship between the ministry and Thompson and Clark.

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Video: Sneak peek into Te Papa’s new $8.4m art gallery labelled a game changer for New Zealand art

From traditional, to contemporary, Te Papa's new $8.4 million art gallery Toi Art aims to cater for all art lovers.

"I think Te Papa has been in an experimentation phase since it opened and we have kind of been building towards this," Head of Art Charlotte Davy said.

The gallery, which sits over two floors and takes up nearly 4000 square metres, will emphasise New Zealand and Pacific art in a way not seen here for a long time.

It's something art critics have been calling for.

"There's going to be a lot of expectation about whether they're going to fulfil their role as the national art gallery," Art Professor Linda Tyler said.

"They swallowed up the original national art gallery in 1998 and they've been a lot of critics that have been looking for that role to actually assert itself," she said.

But Te Papa says the gallery will cater for all art lovers.

"We really welcome critical thinking, it's one of the reasons that we are an art gallery, we welcome hearing people challenge and consider and if we're not hearing those voices and the critics then we are probably doing something wrong," Ms Davy said.

Social Practice artist Tiffany Singh has two major pieces being exhibited and hopes the interactive art will encourage people to get more involved.

"I definitely think it's a significant shift for Kiwi art in New Zealand to have it prioritised like this."

Toi Art will be officially opened tomorrow night by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and will open to the public on Saturday.

The new gallery will open this weekend. Source: 1 NEWS