Finance Minister Grant Robertson needs to front up on the costings for his Government’s expensive policy pledges, National Party Finance Spokesperson Steven Joyce says.
“Yesterday we learnt that Mr Robertson did have coalition costings prepared by the Treasury before the coalition was announced on 19 October,” Mr Joyce says.
“This is despite him refusing to release the costings on 28 October on TV3’s The Nation because he hadn’t had the opportunity to ‘work with the public service’.
“It is clear now that excuse was a blatant fabrication.
“Then today we have the very unusual situation where the policy on lifting student loans and allowances by $50 a week is announced by Minister Hipkins, with no substantive costings whatsoever.
“All the public has to go on are the suggested costings from the infamous BERL pre-election fiscal plan that Mr Robertson refuses to stand by.
“Where is the information on the cost of student allowances? Where is the expected extra write-off on student loans caused by this change?
“We know that Treasury and the Ministry of Education would have provided costings for this policy for it to go through Cabinet. Mr Robertson needs to release those figures.
“This is serious stuff. The Reserve Bank’s Monetary Policy Statement released less than two weeks ago had multitude caveats in it about domestic policy uncertainty because they have no idea what the new government is planning.
“This isn’t Labour’s money, it’s the public’s money. And the public is entitled to know what the new Government is spending in its name.
“Mr Robertson needs to step up and release his coalition costings, and also insist Ministers release policy costings when new policies are announced. Or are they just afraid to spoil their ‘good news’ stories with some fiscal reality.”