Jones wants more ministerial influence in public sector.

By Talisa Kupenga

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones wants more control by politicians over the state sector to achieve outcomes more quickly.

But National says calls by Jones to soften the line between government and bureaucracy is code for removing restraints from him as a politician.

National's Paul Goldsmith says Jones wants less restraints to shovel taxpayer money hastily out the door.

"He's quite shameless in the way that he goes around and says 'c'mon, quickly, quickly, we've only got 29 months until the next election.  I want to spend all this money as quickly as possible so we can see the results before the election'.

"Well actually it's $3 billion and it's not there to just re-elect Shane Jones- it's there to do good in the regions."

Jones says, "my hastiness needs to equal that of the people that prompted me to drive and facilitate this project within the three years we promised them".

Jones wants to speed-up the process to fund economic projects and allow ministers to select top tier officials.  Goldsmith has concerns this would threaten a politically neutral public service. 

"Just going down this route of removing barriers that just get in the way of ministers spending large sums of money as quickly as possible would undermine that overtime and would ultimately corrupt the system".

Jones says, "My message to the public service sector is that I stand beside them; providing that their part of the bargain is upheld and aligns with what we campaigned on".

He says this is what the regions want.

"This isn't an idea I just suddenly came up with.  It came from the towns, homes and areas within the regions I visited".

But Goldsmith disagrees, saying, "The interest of the wider community is to ensure that money goes to those who need it most and is spent effectively".

Jones will further discuss the topic at the New Zealand First conference later this year.