Some people call a spade a flippin' shovel.
It's blunt talk, designed to leave no-one in doubt of your intentions.
Well, we're talking about shovels a lot these days. It's another word for jobs.
We are looking for infrastructure projects all over the country that are 'shovel-ready.'
We are funding them from the special Covid Response and Recovery Fund set aside in last month's Budget.
By shovel-ready we mean immediate job creation. We mean supporting the regions by investing in long-neglected infrastructure needs like water storage, rail and road transport, housing, health facilities, and environmental improvements.
We've asked regional leaders, councils, iwi, and the private sector to come to us with ideas. Our list now has 1800 projects on it. There are lots of worthy schemes. We want job-rich projects, large and small, all over the country.
Here in Hawke's Bay there are plenty of good shovel-ready projects. I've been working with the councils and businesses. We're ready to go. They are multi-million dollar job-creation schemes that will have long-term benefits for our community. Announcements are due soon. The region can have confidence that our economic recovery is under way.
We've already announced $15 million for Hawke's Bay roading projects. About 220 jobs will be created in maintenance and construction work. All road users: motorists, pedestrians, cyclists, truckies, will notice the difference.
All four Hawke's Bay council areas will benefit. Examples include cycleways at Meeanee Road and Marine Parade; safety improvements on SH51 near Waipatu marae and footpaths at School Rd in Clive; a new bridge at Patangata; and clearing trees and other vegetation in major roading corridors in the Central Hawke's Bay DC.
We've announced almost $3 million for Apollo Foods in Hawke's Bay for new technology and to upskill workers to increase productivity and capability.
This weekend we mark the Winter Solstice. We are ready for a tough winter. But, we always get through winter. We are getting New Zealanders back to work and our economy moving quickly again.
There will be new houses built, workers deployed into conservation and biosecurity projects, shovel-ready infrastructure will get started, and there's a huge new fund for restarting tourism.
There is a clear path through. From the wage subsidy to tax refunds, to interest-free loans, we are moving to get money out the door to workers and businesses. Our interest-free loans have come at just the right time. We are near the $1.5 billion mark with cheap loans to more than 85,000 businesses all over the country.
Here in Hawke's Bay, small businesses are enthusiastic about the government lending.
So far more 2000 businesses have sought interest-free loans of more than $35 million.
Up the coast in Gisborne, almost 500 small businesses are borrowing around $8 million under the interest-free loans scheme.
The average value of each loan is modest, around $17,000. But it is much-needed working capital, to help in a tight spot.
The vast majority, around 80 per cent, are the very small businesses, with between one and five staff members. Many don't have a well-established relationship with their bank, or the bank might ask them to put up their house as collateral. That just doesn't work for these firms.
The firms are diverse, and most applications are from firms in industries like construction, accommodation, retail trade, transport and manufacturing.
Other industries like forestry, fishing, primary production, and domestic tourism have a huge part to play.
We've just given $500,000 to the Mayoral Relief Fund for drought relief in the Bay.
We will grow our economy sustainably to pay back our debt. We will fairly share that burden, and above all, we will do it together.
With our plan, and with the help of innovative and resilient businesses around the country, we can get New Zealand moving and rebuild our economy together.