Responding to the Minister of Finance's decision to limit the pre-Budget briefing to members of the Parliamentary Press Gallery, New Zealand Taxpayers' Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke says:
"We knew this year's Budget briefing wouldn't be a typical one, but the Finance Minister's decision to lock out independent economists and sector groups is a disgraceful rejection of accountability. We'll likely be in Alert Level 2, so we can only interpret the restrictions as an effort by the Government to dominate the messaging."
"With the greatest respect to the Press Gallery, this means there won't be anyone in the room with an economics degree to penetrate the Government's spin. With the media currently taking bailouts from the Government, taxpayers desperately need independent scrutiny of the Budget fine-print."
"This year's Budget, which is likely to contain unprecedented economic measures in response to COVID-19, will seriously affect generations of taxpayers. It requires as much, if not more, scrutiny as any other Budget. Health concerns can be managed – use an overflow room!"