The Minister of Finance has once again shown he is not willing to be transparent about how he spends taxpayers’ money, says National’s Shadow Treasurer Andrew Bayly.
“New Zealanders should be very worried about how Grant Robertson is spending their money and how that spending is being disclosed.
“Last week, the Auditor-General agreed with National that the Government was not being sufficiently transparent about its spending, and had not properly disclosed policies worth hundreds of millions of dollars in Budget 2021.
“This included a $100 million conifer control programme, which was not separately disclosed as required by the Treasury, and a mental health fund announced by the Government that could not be found in any Budget documents.
“During Question Time today, the Minister could not confirm to me there were no other missing disclosures in the Budget, but he was not willing to review and reissue a corrected Budget 2021.
“This is not the first time the Auditor-General has called out Grant Robertson for being unclear about how he’s spending taxpayers’ money. Last year, he raised concerns over the Provincial Growth Fund and how it had been allocated in the Budget. He also made it clear earlier this year that he was not pleased with the handling of the Covid Response and Recovery Fund, saying that it is sometimes impossible to track where money is being spent.
“We are seeing a very worrying pattern here. Labour’s Chair of the Finance and Expenditure Committee recently blocked a request from National to the Finance Minister to provide the Committee with a monthly report on spending managed against the Covid fund.
“And, in the last few days, Grant Robertson has twice refused to disclose through written parliamentary questions what new spending has been met from the $41 billion of Imprest Supply so far this financial year.
“This is an appalling show of contempt toward the people of New Zealand.
“New Zealand was promised an open and transparent Government that would invest their taxes carefully. What we have is a 40 per cent increase in spending, a $57 billion Covid slush fund, and a Finance Minister who won’t even tell them where their money is going.”
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