Announcements in the Budget indicate that two-thirds of the $3 billion available for distribution from the Provincial Growth Fund has now been committed.
With $1.7b of projects already announced, the Budget adds $300 million for regional rail projects, which are themselves part of almost $1.6b in capital funding for rail in the Budget, and $40 million in funding each for waste and energy projects.
That means that some $2.08b of funding is either committed or "earmarked" to be spent by the PGF, a $3b fund created as part of the Labour Party's coalition deal with the New Zealand First party after the 2017 election.
The fund has been the subject of controversy as NZ First's Minister of Regional Economic Development, Shane Jones, has unashamedly sought to use the fund to advance the party's electoral interests by investing swiftly and visibly in regional economic initiatives.
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The $40m for energy projects would "create new opportunities and help maximise labour redeployment in the case of sunset industries", said Jones in the Well-being Budget document's narrative.