National is again accusing Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones of using the Provincial Growth Fund to buy votes in Northland after the region was allocated its hundredth million PGF dollar.
But Jones said he's fed up with National's accusations and numbers show the PGF was committed to "tapping into the potential that exists up and down our country".
According to Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) data, Northland is third on the list of regions which have received the most PGF funding, behind Tairāwhiti and the West Coast.
Yesterday's $8.2 million PGF funding announcement for five projects in the Far North brings the total amount of money allocated to Northland to a shade under $100m.
"Jones has been shameless all along about the Northland bias to the fund," National's economic development spokesman Paul Goldsmith said.
Jones ran in Whangarei in the 2017 election – NZ First leader Winston Peters ran in Northland.
Goldsmith said although some of the Northland projects were worthwhile, there has been a lot of "froth and spray and attempts to buy votes".
Jones, however, said this was not the case.
"It's becoming somewhat tiresome to have to defend every dollar we commit to Northland as if it's a region that is not deserving of this support.
"But we've come to expect this anti-regional development narrative from Mr Goldsmith and the National Party."
He said the PGF has allocated money to regions throughout all New Zealand.
In fact, of all the regions allocated PGF funding, Tairāwhiti has been given the most.
So far, the East Coast region has been allocated $157m – some 21 per cent of the total PGF allocation so far.
But the vast majority of the region's funding came from just one project – the Tairāwhiti Roading Package which got $137m from the PGF in September last year.
At the time, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the money was to: "unlock Tairāwhiti's economic potential through stronger, safer and more resilient transport connections".
With $138m, the West Coast is the region that's been given the second most amount of PGF funding.
A number of multimillion-dollar projects have been given the green light, including $40m for an upgrade to of KiwiRail's TranzAlpine service.
More than $30m was allocated to the region to improve the region's ultra-fast broadband and mobile networks.
Northland takes the PGF bronze medal for amount of money allocated. So far, the Government has provided the area with just under $100m.
The Bay of Plenty, East Coast, Manawatu-Whanganui, the West Coast of the South Island and Northland, are all "surge regions" – areas of the country which face high unemployment, low wages and low productivity.
Some $ 162,649,000 has been allocated to "multi-region" initiatives.