Wellington, October 29, 2017
New Finance Minister Grant Robertson needs to front up on the new coalition government’s spending plans and not make inaccurate excuses.
Mr Robertson has done two long-form interviews over this weekend and yet New Zealanders are still none the wiser about the cost of the coalition’s programme and the impact on their back pockets.
Saying that he won’t reveal the numbers because he didn’t have access to the public service to prepare them as he did on TV3’s ‘The Nation,’ is just not good enough.
All parties in post-election coalition negotiations were given access to the public service to cost their commitments so that excuse just doesn’t wash.
That sounds like someone who simply doesn’t want to reveal the numbers.
He’s either had them costed and doesn’t like what they add up to, or not had them costed. Either way it’s not a reassuring start.
New Zealand’s healthy government accounts are the product of the hard work of millions of Kiwis. They are entitled to know how much has gone out of their collective pockets in the process of forming this government.
They also have a right to know whether the new government’s spending plans in actual dollars will match the cast-iron commitments Labour repeatedly made before the election.
Mr Robertson is already acknowledging his budget is ‘very tight’ and ‘ambitious’.
He needs to front up quickly with the cost of this coalition.
Steven Joyce is National Party’s Finance Spokesman.