Shane Escobar

Santa Shane Jones
Photoshopped image credit: Boondecker

I love Paul Goldsmith. He has had to put up with snide remarks in the house about him being named ‘Goldstein’ and running a bagel franchise, but he has risen above the sniping rather well. His latest attack is on Shane Jones, or Hana Koko, as we should probably refer to him from now on. But rather than comparing him to a benign, loved character, Goldsmith takes it all a bit further, and compares him to Pablo Escobar… the famous Colombian drug lord. This is from?Newshub: quote:

Shane Jones has been compared to notorious Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar by National MP Paul Goldsmith.

It comes after Newshub revealed the Regional Economic Development Minister has been ignoring Treasury advice.?Millions of dollars has been pumped into projects?despite warnings the investment wasn’t worth it and “double or triple dipping” might have been going on.

National’s Economic Development spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says “hundreds of millions” has been wasted.

“This is what we expect from Shane Jones. He wanders around the countryside like Pablo Escobar handing out cash wherever he goes,” he told The AM Show host Duncan Garner on Wednesday.

“It’s just another example of that loose spending that we’re seeing from Shane Jones.”

Mr Goldsmith believes the money has disappeared into “the great bucket that is the Provincial Growth Fund”. He accuses Mr Jones of operating under a “to the victors go the spoils” system where money is funnelled to Northland.

“He’s determined to shovel the whole $3 billion out the door as quickly as possible,” he says.

“That means that if he sees a project and there’s a big number attached to it he goes ‘yes, let’s do it’.” end quote.

Pablo Escobar spent a lot of money on schools and football fields in Colombia, although it was drug money. At least it was going to some use. Shane Jones is just splashing his $3 billion around anywhere, with what appears to be no clear plan.

Correction: it is not his $3 billion. It is our $3 billion. quote.

Mr Jones and his Provincial Growth Fund handed $150 million to Gisborne, the poorest region in New Zealand, back in September.

But Newshub can reveal Treasury warned the Minister not to fund up to $11.5 million worth of the projects. It told the Government not to give $5.5 million for the Gisborne Airport revamp, as well as another $6 million for a tourism project at Mt Titirangi. end quote.

Gee, those kids in Treasury again. Who do they think they are, being the brightest of all government servants, trying to tell Shane Jones what to do? quote.

Mr Jones said in this case he prefers advice from his other officials at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

“Treasury is not the only cock in town that we hear crowing,” Mr Jones said.

“I’m a political creature imbued with instinct and savviness and I’m not changing.” end quote.

Really, Shane? Who exactly are you kidding? How ‘savvy’ were you when you charged up porn movies to your government credit card? Your instincts told you that was a smart move? What about slagging off Air New Zealand? How much ‘savviness’ was shown there? How about the West Coast waste to energy project where one of the directors has been referred to?The Serious Fraud Office over property development deals in the Canterbury Earthquake Development Authority? It was just $350,000. Meh. Right?

I made it clear that I really like the idea of a regional growth fund, but I am not so sure about this particular Regional Growth Fund. It seems it gives Santa Jones the ability to splash money around as he sees fit, and that can never be a good thing. The regions really do need some government money but seeing it thrown around as if Jones was Pablo Escobar is a worrying trend, for those of us who still pay tax. For everyone actually.