Finance Minister Grant Robertson justified not extending the wage subsidy to cover the longer period at alert level 3 by saying: we are borrowing every single dollar that we are paying out.
Did Cabinet take that into account when it signed off the $11.7 million paid to the Green School which has raised the ire of principals, teacher unions, the Opposition and Green Party members?
Green co-leader James Shaw has copped most of the criticism and warrants it for the hypocrisy in backing the payment when his party policy opposes private schools.
But the decision must have been signed off by Cabinet.
Labour is no doubt enjoying watching Shaw squirm. But it is just as guilty of hypocrisy for agreeing to fund this small, private school with fees of up to $43,000 a year after scrapping the partnership schools which did so much for disadvantaged pupils failed by the conventional education system.
New Zealand First has been uncharacteristically quiet about this but it is in no position to criticise when so many of the projects it has funded with taxpayers’ money would not have passed the cost-benefit test.
That was bad enough when the government books were in surplus.
It is far worse now that every dollar that is spent is borrowed, accruing interest and will have to be repaid.
Robertson reminded us of that in defending his decision to not extend the wage subsidy.
If he, and his government, took that approach to all other spending the Green School would not have been funded and the country wouldn’t be facing such a mountain of debt.