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Gerry's Streams Now Looking Like Dry River Beds

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Shane Jones
Shane Jones

Some of Economic Development Minister Gerry Brownlee's six workstreams from the Jobs Summit are looking more like dry river beds as work on them slows to a trickle, says Labour economic development spokesperson Shane Jones.

"Clearly he will give himself brownie points for the home insulation scheme, even though it's not part of his economic development portfolio, and he doesn't appear to have played a key or even minor role in its development, but it's difficult to see what genuine progress he has made on his other five tasks," Shane Jones said.

"Maybe Mr Brownlee is modestly keeping significant progress to himself, but modesty and Mr Brownlee hardly go hand in hand.

"If he was being unusually modest, however, perhaps that might explain why he isn't claiming that even thinking about whether to set up a ministerial taskforce is some sort of progress in relation to 'actively managing regulatory approval process for complex and/or major projects'," Shane Jones said.

"And maybe it is unusual modesty that is preventing him claiming too much credit for stripping away $10 million in grant schemes from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, and presiding over a 25 percent cut in Vote Economic Development."

Shane Jones said the lack of activity from Mr Brownlee led him to believe this was a "cunning plot hatched by the Minister so that no blame could attach to him if projects actually kicked off but then failed.

"This might explain the delay in improving SME access to working capital or the lack of any apparent progress in attracting more offshore investment and entrepeneurial migrants," Shane Jones said.

"Gerry Brownlee's sly strategy seems to be to hope that the recession goes away before he has to commit himself to real action. Either that, or he is pacing himself so that he is ready to be a critic from the sidelines when the next Great Recession comes around.

"If it wasn't tragic from the point of view of failing to create jobs for New Zealanders, his inability to focus on his responsibilities would almost be laughable."

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