My current favourite MP is Andrew Bayly, National’s party spokesperson on Infrastructure.
Not because he is one of only 150 individuals estimated to have trekked to both the North and South Poles. [But WOW, wouldn’t you like to have that under your belt?!]
And definitely not because I’m partial to the Nats.
Rather, because – in true BayBuzz style – he is doggedly pursuing the Government (Grant Robertson, in his role as Minister for Infrastucture) for information about the actual delivery of projects funded by the $3 billion allocated for so-called ‘Shovel Ready’ projects.
Among other questions he’s put to Government is this one regarding Te Mata Mushrooms, proposing to expand in CHB:
“For the Shovel Ready Project titled ‘Te Mata Mushrooms’, how much has been spent on it to date, how many FTE jobs are currently employed, and how many FTE jobs will continue after this project is completed?”
Bayly has inspired BayBuzz to investigate more closely the status of ‘shovel ready’ projects awarded to our Hawke’s Bay councils. On May 10, we made an OIA request as follows:
For your council, please provide:
1. A list describing the “shovel ready” projects your council has been awarded.
2. Status of those projects — including, for each project, what actual outlays have occurred.
3. Where outlays have not yet occurred, when will they begin and what has been the reason for delay?
Councils have 20 working days to respond. Stay tuned.
Meantime, not to be outdone, based on numbers given in response to their Parliamentary questioning, ACT claims that only 67 of 150 “shovel ready” projects have actually begun.
MP Louise Upton is running a close second in our admiration to colleague Bayly (second only because she didn’t trek to both Poles). Here’s what she’s seeking:
“How much of the $3 billion for shovel ready projects, if any, has not been allocated to a project, and if funds are unallocated, will they be allocated to further shovel ready projects, and if not, how will the Government allocate the funds?”
MP Robertson’s reply: approximately $2,489 million.
But the real question is: Is this Covid economic relief money actually hitting the ground and, if not, why not?
BayBuzz is tracking these information quests on the Beehive’s Alerts System. We’ll keep you updated, especially in terms of ‘shovel ready’ reality here in Hawke’s Bay.