A private Pacific-advocacy company that was trumpeted in May as the recipient of $4.8 million in Government money has missed out on so much as a dime.

In the Budget allocations in May, the Pacific Economic Development Agency (Peda) - a company with a single shareholder - was provided $4.8m over four years to "improve the economic wellbeing of Pacific people in Auckland".

But following criticisms that there was no tender process and leaked documents showing advice from the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs that Peda was unproven and a risky investment, the money was opened up to competitive bids.

This morning, seven months after Budget 2010, the ministry announced that four companies - two Pacific providers and two mainstream providers - had been chosen to receive $2.3m over two years. Peda is not one of them, though the ministry acknowledges that Peda's advocacy led to the money allocation in the first place.

The companies are: charitable trust SENZ, In-Work NZ, Crosspower Ministries Trust and C-Me Mentoring Foundation Trust.

The project, called the Pacific Employment Support Services (PESS) project, will be implemented and managed by the ministry. It will target 700 16- to 25-year-old Pacific people in Auckland to help them into higher education and sustainable employment.

The companies wills tart recruiting young Pacific people in January.

After 18 months, an independent evaluation will take place to determine what services will continue.

The project will include a variety of people, from college students to unemployed to at-risk youths.

Some will be individually managed, and support will be provided for families where needed.

Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs chief executive Colin Tukuitonga defended the length of time it had taken to contract the services.

"It's taken a while to get here but given the money involved we wanted to make sure we ran a robust process, and secured the best possible value," Dr Tukuitonga said.

It was an exciting opportunity to help Pasifika, he said.

"Young Pacific people with few qualifications or skills don't fare so well in a recession and recent unemployment figures bear this out. So having the funding to target some of these young people in a programme which helps get them to get higher education, jobs or, in some cases, better jobs is very good news.

"When you consider that one in every four babies born in Auckland now is of Pacific descent then clearly young Pacific people will make up more of the future workforce. Helping their employment prospects has to benefit us all."

The project was put together after a two-stage competitive process which initially drew interest from 27 providers. Nine of these were invited to put forward more detail, and the four involved in the scheme were then asked to build on their individual proposals and come up with a collaborative package.