Bill English National Finance Spokesman
23 August 2001
Incompetent Labour Ministers spending blindly
Reports today on a Treasury review of Budget spending by the Labour Alliance Government indicate Cabinet Ministers are
groping blindly in the dark when it comes to prioritising their spending, National's Finance spokesman Bill English said
"The review was designed to ensure money was being spent effectively, but it clearly showed the Government is spending
in an unguided, ill-disciplined manner," Bill English said.
"Reports by NZPA say the Treasury report said there was little information on the quality of education spending in last
years' Budget, and in some cases it was impossible to assess the effectiveness of that spending. Health spending by
Labour could not be clearly linked to improved health outcomes, while information on Maori health spending was described
"Low quality spending, with no way of identifying whether it has produced positive outcomes, is a hallmark of this
Government, and these reports prove it. The amount which can be spent on social services is finite, and a responsible
Government should be ensuring there are ways to measure whether expenditure is effective.
"Labour Ministers are apparently deciding their spending projects on a whim, keeping their fingers crossed that
something worthwhile will occur.
"What makes these reports doubly damning is the fact Ministers were reluctant to co-operate, Annette King attempting to
fence off some health spending so it could not be scrutinised, while the Ministers of Police, Corrections, and Courts
were reportedly 'not encouraging' about the exercise.
"Prior to the election Helen Clark pledged 'If we elect Labour to Government... then my commitment is that we will
deliver a government people can trust. It will be open. It will be accountable.'
"This attempt to shield significant Government spending from scrutiny makes a mockery of that. Labour's 'Closing the
Gaps' policy collapsed because there was no way to measure its outcomes. It is now clear that other significant areas of
Government spending are being undertaken in an equally blind manner - with no way to measure their effectiveness in
delivering improved outcomes for New Zealanders," Bill English said.