Can you do better than the Finance Minister?
It should be back to school – if he can find one that’s open – for Minister of Finance Grant Robertson, says National’s Finance spokesperson Michael Woodhouse.
“Having raised doubts about our detailed Back in Business economic recovery plan, we thought it might be useful for the Minister, who has only ever been a professional politician since his days in student politics, to brush up on his financial literacy skills.
“So, let’s give him a quick quiz – Economics 101, if you like. The Minister should answer true or false, and show his working for all questions.
“Note that while he may seek assistance from senior colleagues, we’re not sure that Health Minister Andrew Little, who still can’t work out how many ICU beds there are in New Zealand, or Education Minister Chris Hipkins, who is in charge of an education system where the numeracy levels of Kiwi kids are going backwards, will be of much use.”
- Spending $710 million from the borrowed Covid Response and Recovery Fund on a plan to pinch water assets from ratepayers who have already paid for them is Covid-related. True or false?
- Spending $26 million from the borrowed Covid Response and Recovery Fund to put cameras on fishing boats is Covid-related. True or false?
- Granting $500,000 from the borrowed Covid Response and Recovery Fund to a start-up headed by an American wedding celebrant with close to zero knowledge of New Zealand literature “to help Aotearoa audiences access books” is Covid-related. True or false?
- Granting $19,000 from the borrowed Covid Response and Recovery Fund for a temporary public art activation where members of the public can “harvest” a ceramic vegetable from a small makeshift garden which they can then take home as a gift is all about responding to Covid. True or false?
“There are at least 60 more questions in the quiz, but we’ll save the Minister some time. The answers are all the same. There’s little or no explanation for how any of these projects can, or should, be categorised in any way as Covid-related.
“And, put together, they add up to some $12 billion – money the Government borrowed to get us through Covid. But, instead of actually using it on the Covid response, the Minister and his Government spent it on vanity projects such as a ‘green school’ in Taranaki and $27 million on wallaby control.
“This $12 billion would fund our Back in Business package many times over.
“It also puts the $1 billion gain over 15 years from the free trade agreement with the United Kingdom to shame.
“If the Minister wants to know how we would pay for the critical spending to help New Zealand businesses and prevent New Zealand being mired in growing debt, we can tell him where to start.
“We’ve even attached the full list of dodgy spending to help him out as a study guide.
“And if you answered ‘false’ to the four questions above, congratulations – you are officially smarter than Grant Robertson!”
Wasting money at any time is an abuse of power.
Spending money approved for one purpose on something else is a misuse of funds.
Doing it during a pandemic with borrowed money that was supposed to help the recovery makes it even worse.