The Government’s highly restrictive Budget lockup, lack of Regulatory Impact Statements and failure to cost multi-billion dollar policies shows a startling lack of transparency and rigour, National’s Finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.

“Next week’s Budget will likely be the biggest spending Budget that New Zealand has seen, financed by more debt that will have to be repaid by Kiwis.

“Now, more than ever, we need full scrutiny of spending decisions. Instead, the Government is undermining the basic mechanisms to hold it to account.

“The Budget lockup has been severely restricted. Independent analysts and economists have been excluded from scrutinising the Budget before its delivery. There’s no justification for this. There’s plenty of room to space people out.

“Slower independent scrutiny of the Budget might suit the Minister of Finance, but it’s not good news for New Zealanders.

“This is on the back of the Government’s decision to do away with Regulatory Impact Statements, which provide Treasury analysis of Government decisions and aim to ensure taxpayer’s money is being spent wisely.  

“Last week, the Government put a Bill through the House and accidentally released a huge new policy with no costings and seemingly no idea of the economic impact.

“Meantime, the Government has steadfastly refused to release Cabinet papers and advice throughout the crisis.

“Combined, these actions show a Government that seems to think it can spend without constraint.

“Covid-19 shouldn’t be used as an excuse to throw proper process out the door.

“New Zealanders will be paying off the debt incurred from the economic fallout of Covid for years to come. Proper scrutiny of taxpayer dollars is more important than ever.”

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