INDEPENDENT NEWS

$300 million on working groups, trail of broken promises

Published: Tue 23 Jul 2019 03:27 PM
The Government’s constant outsourcing of work has left taxpayers with a $317 million bill, Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges says.
“Over the past 21 months, there have been 279 working groups created or reviews launched. That’s a working group every two days since the Labour-led Government has been in office.
“The Government has used working groups as an excuse to stall on doing any work while the coalition squabbles in the background.
“It shipped off work to the Tax Working Group, the Welfare Expert Advisory Group, the Business Advisory Group and the Fair Pay Working Group. All of these groups reported back with recommendations but the Government has done little or nothing with them.
“New Zealanders will be scratching their heads wondering why their hard-earned taxpayer dollars are being spent on working groups when the work isn’t even being used. They’ll be asking themselves, what is the point of this Government?
“The Government has broken many promises it made leading into the 2017 election, like $20 million for rare disorders, $10 cheaper GP fees to all New Zealanders and free annual health and eye checks for seniors.
“Not every review is wasteful. We support the Government in calling for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Christchurch terrorist attacks, but the constant outsourcing of work takes the focus off the important reviews that really matter. Over the same time period when we were in Government, we had 113 reviews, less than 40 per cent of what this Government has called for.
“The Government has no plans for growing the strong economy it inherited, or for improving the lives of New Zealanders. Rather than having a plan and a vision for New Zealand it’s focused on keeping the coalition together and treading water.
“On top of all the working groups, the Government is making poor spending decisions, including more than $2 billion for fees-free tertiary, which has resulted in fewer students, $3 billion for Shane Jones’ slush fund and $2 billion on KiwiBuild, which has resulted in next to no houses.
“National would cut the waste and invest taxpayer dollars in more considered and targeted ways. Savings from these reviews alone could fund the Roxburgh children’s village for the next 90 years, fund 5,600 cochlear implants, restore and maintain full facilities at the Lumsden Maternity Clinic for more than a hundred years, or axe the regional fuel tax.
“National is doing the work in Opposition so we’re ready should we earn the right to govern in 2020. We have already released three comprehensive discussion documents and there are six more to come. Our polices will be in place and our legislation will be ready to go in time for 2020.”

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