The government's Provincial Development Unit is working through applications and projects to see where Provincial Growth Fund money can be repurposed for initiatives deemed more critical to fighting the economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
"We need to be throwing everything we have at our disposal at keeping Kiwi businesses going, workers in jobs and regional economies afloat and viable. If Provincial Growth Fund money is not going out the door through conventional projects, then it needs to be repurposed for other initiatives," Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones said.
"Ministers will soon consider whether unallocated funds should be redirected into regional projects that will have an almost immediate impact in line with the government's Covid-19 economic response. Projects that can provide initial economic support over the next two to six months, and aid economic recovery longer term, will be prioritised."
PDU officials were contacting applicants and fund recipients to gather information on which projects would be able to continue despite the impacts of Covid-19, be scaled up or accelerated, be refined so they would more usefully contribute to the response, or be deferred or terminated.
Ministers would receive advice about which projects could be prioritised, the criteria for prioritisation including:
* Immediate support for the redeployment of displaced employees into critical sectors, including horticulture and manufacturing, in the immediate term, and later through public works activities