The bill for the Government’s constant outsourcing of its job to 152 working groups and reviews has reached $170 million so far, with a third still to be costed, National Leader Simon Bridges says.

“During the election the Government ramped up pay expectations with nurses, teachers and public servants and now it’s failing to deliver. How can it tell teachers there’s no more money when figures released to the Opposition confirm it’s spending at least $170 million on asking people to give them the ideas they should have had before taking office?

“The refusal to make sensible spending choices has led to thousands of parents and caregivers scrambling for childcare during the teacher strikes and the responsibility for that lies squarely at the feet of this Government and the choices they’re making.”

What’s worse is the Government doesn’t know the cost of over a third of the 152 working groups and reviews announced to date.

“This is a Government caught badly unprepared and New Zealanders are now paying an exorbitant price. And now we know Ministers are ordering reviews and setting up groups without even knowing what they will cost, while the reviews are coming back with recommendations for more reviews.

“The Government doesn’t know the cost of its summit to help Taranaki undertake a ‘just transition’ after the Prime Minister gutted the local oil and gas sector without warning. David Clark’s review of the health system comes without a price tag, Kelvin Davis has no ideas about his flagship Freedom Camping group, and Clare Curran hasn’t worked out the cost of her public media funding commission, which is tasked with figuring out how to distribute funding.

“Who knows how much the taxpayer will be forking out for this by the end? With a review coming every two days, these costs could really blow out over the next two years.

“The only thing we know for certain is that the Labour-NZ First Coalition is squandering New Zealand’s real economic success and creating uncertainty. Business confidence has plummeted, economic growth forecasts have slumped, the cost of living is on the rise, unemployment is up and job creation has more than halved.

“That’s not good enough and we won’t make the same mistake. We’re doing the work now to ensure a National Government I lead will be ready for office and won’t be spending hundreds of millions of dollars on asking other people what to do.”

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