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Budget 2020 featured eye-wateringly large spending announcements but precious little detail on what is actually being bought with our money, National’s Finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.

“The approach of this Government appears to be to announce the intention to spend a heap of money in a particular area, then everyone has to go and figure out how to spend it.

“There is item after item listed with precious little detail and jobs figures apparently plucked out of thin air. 

“David Parker asserts that $433 million on regional environmental projects will create 4,000 jobs. I bet there isn’t a business case.  We’ve had to listen to Shane Jones predicting tens of thousands of jobs from Provincial Growth Fund for more than two years, but the evidence of actual jobs is hard to come by.

“It’s as if ideas have just been thrown up on a whiteboard, even if they double up. We have $148 million for the Department of Conservation ‘to ramp up pest control and eradication’, plus a separate $200 million fund ‘to create jobs boosting predator control’, plus another $100 million for jobs to control wilding pines.

“Willie Jackson gets another $121 million to spend on He Poutama Rangatahi – is there any evidence that the scheme is working well now?

“Winston Peters gets another $1.2 billion for rail, to bring the total to $4.6 billion. What evidence have we got the business cases are robust?  Three train so far have used the reopened line to Wairoa.

“The $1.6 billion for trades training sounds good.  Just like $1.9 billion for mental health last year.  But there has to be a well-thought through plan to spend the money effectively.   One year on, in the mental health space the government hasn’t yet figured out how to spend most the money it announced.

“Budget 2020 will saddle future generations with debt – an extra $80,000 per household.  Kiwis deserve to know that money will be spent wisely, with clear outcomes in mind.”

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