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Sneaky Three Waters Raid Of Covid Fund Exposed

The Government’s decision to quietly raid the Covid-19 Response and Recovery Fund to gussy up its controversial Three Waters plan was sneaky and wasteful, National’s Finance spokesperson Nicola Willis says.

“Today the New Zealand Herald revealed that in April this year Cabinet explicitly changed the rules for the Covid fund so that it could spend $70 million more on Three Waters costs, including millions on yet more public relations and policy advice from private contractors.

“The Government kept this move under wraps - a decision that shows contempt for taxpayers’ right to know how their money is being spent.

“This is a shocker. Finance Minister Grant Robertson is back to his old trick of using the Covid fund as a slush fund for the sneaky little projects he wants to keep off the books.

“Cabinet must have been desperate to throw more taxpayer funds at its doomed Three Waters pet project, but knew the wasteful spending wouldn’t survive normal public scrutiny. So, it came up with a dodgy work-around instead.

“The arrogance of the move is breath-taking, and makes a mockery of both the Budget process and the Public Finance Act.

“Prior to the Jacinda Ardern-led Labour Party coming to office, $70 million was considered a lot of money. Now, Labour throws it around like confetti.

“This misuse of Covid money was essentially a Hail Mary pass aimed at getting a doomed project over the line.

“The Office of the Auditor-General, which in May stated that there needed to be more transparency and reporting around the Covid fund, will no doubt be interested in the latest revelations.

“Grant Robertson must apologise for this sneaky use of taxpayer funding and commit to treating taxpayer funds with more respect in future.”

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