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MoF not over the detail of major spending initiatives

The inability of Finance Minister Grant Robertson to answer basic questions about the effectiveness of major spending decisions, shows he is not in control of Government spending, National’s Finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.

“Today in Question Time Mr Robertson was unable to answer basic questions about the outcomes of major Government spending initiatives. Apparently the Minister of Finance, the person who is in charge of the budget process and the allocation of taxpayer money, should not be expected to know the outcomes of major Government spending policies.

“He had no idea how much the Government has so far spent on KiwiBuild, in order to know whether we are getting good value for money for the 87 houses so far delivered.

“Leader of the House Chris Hipkins thought it was unreasonable to expect the Finance Minister to be on top of such detail. One of the most basic roles for the Finance Minister is having a good grasp of what our money is being spent on and what we’re getting for it.

“Mr Robertson has wasted billions of dollars on these bad policies:
• Hundreds of millions of dollars for fees-free tertiary, which has resulted in 4500 fewer students;
• $2 billion to KiwiBuild, which has delivered only 87 houses; and
• 75 times more money to Shane Jones’ Provincial Growth Fund than Pharmac

“The Government has also taken away accountability for its spending. It has deliberately and systematically removed the Better Public Service targets for the public sector and removed National’s health targets.

“If the Government was more careful with its spending it could simultaneously deliver greater investment in health, education and infrastructure while also letting hardworking New Zealanders keep more of what they earn.”

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