“Grant Robertson has today told the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee that it doesn’t matter how much of the COVID-19 Recovery Fund he’s blown on unrelated spending because he can always borrow more,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.
“Three months ago, there was only $5 billion left from the $50 billion fund. That was after the Government spent it on things like the ballet, the orchestra, school lunches and fishing boat cameras.
“Today, the Finance Minister said while there is only enough left for four weeks of the Wage Subsidy, it’s fine because he can always borrow more.
“The Minister says there’s $35 Billion available through the Imprest Supply Bill which provides Government with the authority to incur expenses and capital spending in advance of it being appropriated.
“This money will either need to be borrowed or cuts will need to be made elsewhere. But Grant Robertson wasn’t keen to talk about that.
“Robertson has no appreciation that this money comes from hardworking taxpayers and will need to be paid back by future generations.
“He also talked about clawing back money from spending commitments he’s already made – an admission that much of his spending hasn’t been targeted on the things that matter.
“It was disappointing to see today’s Select Committee continually interrupted by backbench Labour MPs asking soft questions to protect Robertson. At one point the Committee’s Labour Party chair, Duncan Webb, even tried to rescue the Minister with a patsy of his own.
“It reinforces the disgraceful decision to abandon Question Time this week.
“ACT will continue to make constructive criticisms where necessary and helpful suggestions where possible, while asking the questions New Zealanders need answered.”