Reallocating Covid Fund irresponsible

Plans by the Government to reallocate $926 million of money unspent from the Covid Response and Recovery Fund is irresponsible and burdens future generations with even more debt than is necessary, National’s Finance spokesperson Michael Woodhouse says.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson told a Wellington Chamber of Commerce audience this morning that the Government intended to spend ‘reprioritised’ Covid funding in other parts of Budget 2021.

“The Covid Response Fund was effectively an insurance against the worst effects of Covid,” Mr Woodhouse says.

“Clearly the need for borrowing and spending was less than forecast, and rather than allocating this to new spending in the Budget the Government should avoid deepening the debt burden on future generations by not spending that money.

“The Government has already given itself $10.5 billion in operating allowances for new spending in Budget 2021. It’s clear from today’s announcement that even that level of new spending is not enough for this wasteful administration and it’s raiding the Covid fund to pay for its excesses.

“This is irresponsible.

“Not only are we leaving a legacy of debt for future generations, we’re not preparing our economy for the inevitable next shock.

“With new borrowing already forecast to grow by more than $100 billion the Government should accept the fund was not needed in its entirety and reduce its total borrowing as a consequence.

“We are effectively borrowing from our children and grandchildren. The Government refers to wellbeing as a core priority, so it should be concerned about the wellbeing of our future generations.”