Covid recovery fund still being used for Government’s pet projects

Using the Covid Response and Recovery Fund to increase Radio New Zealand’s operating budget by $7 million is yet another example of money borrowed on behalf of taxpayers to fund pet projects unrelated to the pandemic response, says Leader of the Opposition Judith Collins.

“Today, the Prime Minister defended using the Covid fund to spend public money borrowed to get all New Zealanders through Covid on dodgy Creative NZ funding decisions, the failing Three Waters policy and a $7 million baseline increase for Radio New Zealand.

“But couldn’t recall whether money from the fund had actually been used to increase ICU capacity – which is a real and urgent need in this pandemic.

“The Prime Minister defended funding the Three Waters policy from the Covid fund by citing the creation of jobs and building infrastructure.

“It’s pretty hard to believe the $710 million for Three Waters is a Covid response when the Government committed to the programme in 2018.

“And how does pumping another $7 million a year into Radio NZ’s operating budget qualify as spending on Covid recovery? Radio NZ is already fully funded by taxpayers and doesn’t rely on advertising revenue, so why does it get more money while commercial operations have seen their turnover slashed?

“The truth is that the Covid fund is nothing more than a slush fund for the Government’s pet projects.”