ACT refutes PM’s wasteful spending claim

Mon, 07 Mar, 2022

ACT is refuting Jacinda Ardern’s claim that Labour hasn’t wasted taxpayers’ money and is renewing its promise to zero base government.

“Jacinda’s claim on AM this morning that her Government hasn’t been wasteful would be laughable if it wasn’t so serious”, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“ACT has gone through the Government’s budget line-by-line and found dozens of examples of waste.

“The Government is spending $970 million a year on the climate – including the Climate Emergency Response Fund and the Climate Change Commission – when we have a capped Emissions Trading Scheme. These programmes don’t reduce emissions by a single gram.

“Middle-class welfare, including Fees-Free and KiwiSaver subsidies, comes in at $1.8 billion annually.

“The Progressive Home Ownership Scheme and First Home Grants are totally ineffective solutions for the housing crisis but cost $170 million a year.

“Labour spends $1.2 billion annually on corporate welfare, including the Provincial Growth Fund, Callaghan Innovation, the Cultural Sector Regeneration Fund, and domestic and international film subsidies.

“Inefficient make-work schemes like Jobs for Nature, hunting wallabies, and pest and pine control jobs are costing us $345 million annually.

“‘Demographic’ ministries are totally ineffective at helping people but cost the taxpayer $150 million a year.

“Jacinda Ardern believes that government is better at spending your money than you are.

“That’s nonsense for two reasons: government is not spending its own money, and it’s not purchasing goods and services for itself. There’s little incentive for government to get value for money.

“We need to zero base government. Another cycle of National holding the line so Labour can pick up right where it left off just won’t do.

“We need to stop assuming government departments and activities should continue because they always have. If companies don’t deliver, they go. But when was the last time you heard of a government department being surplus to requirement and closed down?

“How many zombie departments and zombie bureaucrats does this country have? People who carry on collecting a pay cheque without any real public purpose. Why do we put up with the idea that government can get bigger, but never smaller?

“How is it possible that the Ministry of Education has gotten bigger, while its achievements shrink with every generation?

“ACT says we need to zero base government. By that we mean going back to zero and asking ourselves, if the departments and bureaucracies we have now didn’t exist, would we establish them today?

“ACT would ask every department to answer the simple question: if you didn’t exist, who would notice and why?

“The justifications will have to fit with a robust view of what government can, and can’t, do:

  • Can the private sector provide this service?
  • Is there a genuine conflict between citizens’ interests that cannot be resolved without government intervention?
  • What are the costs and benefits of this activity, and do the benefits outweigh the costs?

“ACT would reduce the size of government by eliminating activities that don’t fit with these simple questions. Maintaining the status quo so the next Labour Government can pick up from where it left off won’t do. We have the change the government and change the direction of the country, too.”