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Auditor-General's Controller Update Published

We’ve published our latest Controller update on Government spending on Covid-19.

We’ve examined the Government’s financial records for spending approved and expenses incurred against these approvals for the 10 months ended 30 April 2020. From what we have seen, the Covid-19 spending approvals have been managed appropriately.

We report on one area where spending has been incurred without the correct approvals. This related to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) providing emergency assistance to New Zealanders caught overseas during the pandemic. However, the expenditure incurred by MFAT’s actions lacked legislative backing, resulting in unappropriated expenditure. MFAT identified the problem and has acted to rectify it.

As part of our work on the April financial information, we reviewed a sample of Cabinet decisions approving new spending recorded as being for Covid-19. All of the approvals we examined were made correctly. We confirmed that the nature and purpose of the spending, as stated in the approval documents, is related to the Covid-19 response.

We also examined a sample of approvals for topping up existing appropriations to ensure that the nature of the new spending approval aligns with the legal scope of the appropriation. We have not identified any concerns about the system for approving Covid-19-related spending.

You can read the full update on our website.

What is the Controller function? Watch this video to find out more about how this function supports the integrity and transparency of our public finance system.

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