Has Grant Robertson botched the Budget?

Grant Robertson might need to take Budget 2021 back to the printers according to his fellow Minister Poto Williams, National’s Building and Construction spokesperson Tim van de Molen says.

“When questioned about the Residential Earthquake-Prone Building Financial Assistance Scheme on the 3rd of June, Minister Williams claimed that eligibility criteria recorded in the Budget was incorrect.

“I questioned the Minister as to if that meant the Budget was wrong and she replied that ‘on the face of it, it would appear to be’.

“That begs the question; has she written to the Finance Minister to advise him of the error in his budget? And, if there is one error, are there more?

“The embarrassment doesn’t end there for the Government, as the scheme, which has been open since September 2020, has received only 31 expressions of interest and zero applications.

“Half of the total funds allocated were expected to have been paid out in the first year of the scheme, and clearly with no applications none of it has been spent. However, over $700,000 has been spent on the scheme. According to the Minister this was primarily on set up, administration, and promotion.

“It has taken 5 months of persistent questioning from myself to the Minister for her to finally seek advice from MBIE on broadening criteria in the hopes of attracting even one application. However, she maintains she has not decided on whether she will enact any changes.

“The Minister is adamant that it is not she who has the criteria wrong; it is the Budget. Does this mean she will take it up with Grant Robertson? He may well want to take up her lack of delivery with her too.”