Cutting red tape is essential to get the pūtea out the door and into projects across Northland post the Budget announcement, former Regional Development Minister Shane Jones says.
The Provincial Growth Fund champion said Northlanders should not be churlish on whether their region was "in or out" in terms of the Budget allocation because there was no rapid solution to simplifying the process to get more funding.
"We had a pretty good lick of the cherry in the last three years and as far as Northland is concerned, I've learnt the hard way in that the challenge to getting things done is timelines and execution.
"Now, the acid is on the system to get the projects running and to get the money out. For a small country with a very modest population, we spend an inordinate amount of time ticking boxes."
He cited a major culvert project under a State Highway 10 causeway at Papakawau, which would allow Back River to again flow directly into Mangonui Harbour, as an example of paperwork that held back development.
Virtually a year after securing PGF funding, he said people behind that project were busy with drawings rather than doing actual ground work.
However, he said forcing the pace of shovel-ready projects as he did came with risks despite the fact that processes needed to be streamlined.
Jones supports the Government's decision to replace the Resource Management Act with three new acts this parliamentary term, describing the RMA as a candidate for "open heart surgery".
"There needs to be more discretion in the Building Act and the RMA to enable projects to move at a greater pace. David Parker and I worked on fast tracking the process and got developments underway for housing projects."
He hopes money allocated towards Māori housing would help tackle the housing crisis in Northland.
"The current ministers understand Māori housing needs. All generation of politicians have known about the problem but once you bequeath them down to the bureaucratic process, it becomes difficult unless you drive it," he said.
The $810m given to KiwiRail, Jones said, to replace its ageing locomotives in the South Island and assemble wagons locally was a fantastic outcome as Covid has showed that logistics and supply chains have not coped well.
Jones was a New Zealand First MP and minister in the previous government but did not get re-elected from the Northland electorate in the October election.
His party and leader Winston Peters also lost their seats in Parliament, falling below the 5 per cent parliamentary threshold.